1. Assessment and non-painful conditions
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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