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Companion Animal Practice
Differential diagnosis of junctionopathies in small animals
  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 at Cambridge veterinary school on the behavioural effects of demyelination, 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.

Abstract

THE term ‘junctionopathy’ is used to describe a disease process that disrupts the normal function of the neuromuscular junction (ie, between a motor axon and skeletal muscle). Junctionopathies are not common conditions in general practice, although veterinary surgeons may be familiar with myasthenia gravis. Unfortunately, the clinical signs associated with junctionopathies are rather varied because different disease processes affect different stages of the efficient translation of electrical-to-chemical-to-electrical signals inherent in junction function. Therefore, it is often necessary to determine whether the observed clinical signs or symptoms described by an owner could be consistent with a junctionopathy. This article discusses the differential diagnosis of myasthenia gravis and other diseases, and briefly reviews treatment options. For further information on the aetiology of junctionopathies, see Penderis (2003).

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