Article Text

Companion Animal Practice
Neurological examination of dogs 2. Interpretation of findings
  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 seven 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 behavioural effects of demyelination at Cambridge veterinary school, and a threeyear 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.


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.

Statistics from

If you wish to reuse any or all of this article please use the link below which will take you to the Copyright Clearance Center’s RightsLink service. You will be able to get a quick price and instant permission to reuse the content in many different ways.