Neurology & Neurosurgery
Austin Veterinary Emergency & Specialty Center’s Neurology and Neurosurgery department, headed by our board-certified neurologist, offers evaluations and consultations for patients with neurologic diseases. A veterinary neurologist specializes in the diagnosis and treatment of disease processes affecting the brain, spinal cord, muscles and peripheral nerves in animals.
Advanced diagnostic modalities are utilized in order to accurately and most efficiently determine the cause of your pet’s symptoms of neurologic dysfunction (such as balance problems, weakness/inability to walk, paralysis, back/neck pain, behavior changes and seizures). After determining a diagnosis, a specialized treatment plan is then developed to provide the optimal care for the individual patient and their family.
Our Neurology and Neurosurgery department has a profound understanding of the bond that exists between you and your pet. Our dedicated and compassionate team will treat your pet with the highest quality of care using cutting-edge neurodiagnostic tests, medicine, and if indicated, neurosurgery.
When your pet is referred for neurological evaluation and treatment, our doctors work closely with you and your family veterinarian to ensure the unique needs of each patient are met and the best possible outcome is achieved.
The AVES neurology department often works in conjunction with the surgery, internal medicine, critical care and oncology departments, since often times neurological conditions also have underlying or complicating medical problems.
Diagnosing Neurologic Disease
Evaluations begin with a detailed assessment of your pet’s medical history and your current concerns. A thorough physical and neurologic examination is performed to localize the problem to a specific part of the nervous system. From there, a plan for diagnostic testing is developed based on the abnormalities identified on examination and the suspected causes of the symptoms.
Sometimes pets with neurologic disease exhibit frightening symptoms: out of the ordinary behaviors, paralysis, difficulty walking, tremors and seizures. Home videos of your pet’s behaviors and/or symptoms aid in our evaluation and assessment.
The Neurology & Neurosurgery department offers a full complement of on-site neurodiagnostic testing including:
Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI)
Our 1.5 Tesla MRI unit provides high-resolution, multi-plane images allowing us to visualize soft tissue structures including the nervous system, that would otherwise not be visible with traditional radiography (x-rays).
MRI is the standard of care to evaluate the nervous system and is the superior imaging modality compared to CT and digital radiography for many neurological disorders.
Computed Tomography (CT)
Our 8-slice helical CT scanner generates 3D images that provide our specialist precise, detailed and quick information that allows them to provide your pet the best diagnosis and treatment available.
Digital Radiography (x-rays)
Digital radiography provides 2D images for a more general assessment of the vertebral column. It is also used in the health screen of a patient undergoing general anesthesia for more advanced neurodiagnostics (CT, MRI, CSF sampling).
Cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) sampling and analysis
Fluid is collected from a space around the brain and spinal cord and then thoroughly analyzed.
This includes, though is not limited to, complete blood counts, biochemistry profiles, and infectious disease testing.
Nerve and muscle biopsy
Biopsy is a simple surgical procedure that allows muscles and nerves to be evaluated microscopically by a veterinary pathologist.
Treating Neurologic Disease
Once diagnosed, the specialist creates a specific and tailored treatment plan for each patient with a neurological disorder. Treatment plans may include medical management, physical rehabilitation, and brain or spinal surgeries.
Our board-certified neurologist is exceptionally trained in both medical and surgical veterinary neurology and specializes in the management of neurologic conditions, including though not limited to:
- Vertebral/spinal cord disorders
- Cervical and thoracolumbar intervertebral disc extrusions/protrusions
- Lumbosacral disc disease/stenosis
- Vascular accidents to the spinal cord
- Infectious diseases of the intervertebral disc (discospondylitis)
- Immune mediated and infectious diseases of the spinal cord and meninges (myelitis, meningitis)
- Spinal cord and vertebral cancer
- Degenerative myelopathy
- Brain/inner ear disorders
- Seizures/epilepsy, including status epilepticus
- Immune-mediated and infectious diseases of the brain (meningitis and encephalitis including MUO/MUE, GME, NME/NLE)
- Cerebrovascular accidents
- Brain tumors
- Traumatic brain injury
- Vestibular disease (balance disorders)
- Caudal occipital malformation syndrome (Chiari-like malformation)
- Canine cognitive dysfunction
- Peripheral nervous system disorders (neuromuscular disease)
- Myasthenia gravis
- Immune-mediated and infectious diseases of the nerves and muscles (including masticatory muscle myositis, polymyositis, neuritis)
- Neuropathies (including endocrine, paraneoplastic, degenerative)
If you feel your pet is suffering from a neurologic disease or experiencing neurologic symptoms, talk to your family veterinarian about a referral to a board-certified neurologist.