FOLLOWING a neurological examination (see Part 1, In Practice, March 2001, pp 118-130), the results of the tests must be interpreted to provide a list of differential diagnoses for evaluation. Given the vast number of potential neurological disorders, this may appear to be an overwhelming task. However, because of the high incidence of specific problems within certain regions of the nervous system, once the site of the disorder has been determined, consideration of the animal's history usually allows the identification of a small number of possible diagnoses. There are, therefore, two objectives in the interpretation of the neurological examination: first, to determine the site(s) at which there is dysfunction in the nervous system, and, secondly, to formulate a differential diagnosis list so that appropriate ancillary tests can be carried out. These two objectives must be considered separately; the site of a lesion must be determined before considering the type of disease that could account for the signs. Premature interpretation of historical information can lead to erroneous diagnosis.
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