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Companion Animal Practice
Neurological examination of dogs 1. Techniques
  1. Nick Jeffery

    Nick Jeffery qualified from Bristol in 1981. He initially worked for the PDSA and in private small animal practice, after which he spent sever years in orthopaedic neurosurgical and neurology referral practice in London and the Animal Health Trust gaining diplomas in neurology and surgery. Following completion of a PhD on the behavioral effects of demyelination at Cambridge veterinary school, and a three year Wellcome Trust Fellowship at UCL studying mechanisms of recovery from spinal cord injury he returned to Cambridge where he is a lecturer in clinical neurology.


THE purpose of a neurological examination is to detect neurological disease and to define its location within the nervous system. It is the single most important step in the diagnosis of neurological disorders and may also be useful in the investigation of conditions that primarily affect different body systems but which can have secondary effects on the nervous system. After localising a lesion to a specific region or regions within the nervous system, a differential diagnosis can be formulated using information gained from the history and physical examination, thereby allowing diagnostic effort to be appropriately directed. Unfortunately, neurological examination is often perceived to be rather complicated and this has discouraged its more common application in clinical practice. However, with a little experience the procedure can be carried out rapidly (in 10 minutes or so) and with confidence in the results obtained. In this article, the examination procedure is described; the interpretation of findings with a view to formulating a differential diagnosis will be discussed in an article in the next issue.

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