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Companion Animal Practice
Pelvic limb ataxia in the older dog
  1. Giunio Bruto Cherubini

    Giunio Bruto Cherubini is a European and RCVS recognised specialist in veterinary neurology and is a special lecturer in veterinary neurology at Nottingham. He is head of neurology/ neurosurgery at Dick White Referrals.

    ,
  2. Mark Lowrie

    Mark Lowrie graduated from Cambridge in 2004. He is a second-year resident in neurology at Glasgow and is studying for a European diploma in veterinary neurology.

    and
  3. James Anderson

    James Anderson graduated from Edinburgh in 1984. He is a senior lecturer in neurology and associate dean for teaching and learning at Glasgow.

1. Assessment and non-painful conditions

Abstract

ATAXIA is a common clinical sign in the older canine patient and can occur acutely or insidiously, pursuing a waxing and waning or progressive course. Although the prognosis may be guarded or unfavourable due to the underlying aetiology, age alone should not determine the outcome. The range of potential causes is extensive and, therefore, diagnosis requires a systematic approach, including thorough history taking and an accurate clinical and neurological examination. This should guide the practitioner to the most likely disease processes involved in a given case and suggest a potential prognosis for each. This article discusses the relevant physiology and neuroanatomy underpinning the interpretation of the neurological examination and reviews the major conditions associated with non-painful ataxia in the older dog, focusing primarily on the assessment and non-painful causes of pelvic limb ataxia. An article in the next issue will consider conditions associated with painful ataxia in older dogs.

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