Dogs and cats are susceptible to neurological diseases that can cause movement, balance, sensation, and cognition problems, sometimes requiring urgent veterinary care. As a pet parent, it’s important to be aware of the signs and symptoms of these conditions so you can get your cat or dog the treatment they need as soon as possible.
Here are the most common ones:
1. Intervertebral Disc Disease (IVDD)
IVDD is a disease that occurs when the discs that cushion the vertebrae in the spine begin to degenerate or herniate. This can result in the compression of the spinal cord and nerve roots, causing pain, weakness, and paralysis.
IVDD is more common in dogs than cats, and certain breeds (such as dachshunds, corgis, beagles, and Shih Tzus) are at greater risk.
Signs of IVDD include:
- Lameness or paralysis in one or more legs
- Sensitivity to touch
- Difficulty urinating or defecating
- Loss of appetite
Once you observe any of these signs in your pet, take them to the vet immediately for diagnosis and treatment. Treatment may involve pain medication, crate rest, surgery, or a combination of these.
Also, your vet plays a vital role in helping you manage your pet’s condition and preventing further deterioration of the discs. Make sure that you choose a vet clinic or hospital with vets specializing in neurology. Follow this link to know more.
2. Canine Distemper
This virus-causing condition affects dogs and can sometimes affect ferrets, skunks, and raccoons. It’s a highly contagious disease and can cause severe respiratory, gastrointestinal, and neurological symptoms.
Signs of canine distemper include:
- Runny nose and eyes
- Loss of appetite
- Muscle twitching and tremors
Canine distemper is often fatal, but early diagnosis and treatment can improve the chances of survival. Treatment typically involves supportive care to help relieve symptoms. There is no specific cure for the disease.
3. Feline Infectious Peritonitis (FIP)
Feline infectious peritonitis (FIP) is a viral disease that affects cats. It’s caused by a coronavirus related to the one that causes canine distemper. FIP is typically fatal, but early diagnosis and treatment can improve the chances of survival. Unfortunately, this condition doesn’t have a specific cure.
Signs of FIP include:
- Loss of appetite
- Weight loss
- Abdominal pain or swelling
- Eye problems
- Neurological symptoms, such as seizures or paralysis
There’s no particular cure for this disease. That’s why you must take your cat to the veterinarian immediately if they display any of these signs. Treatment typically involves supportive care to help relieve symptoms.
This is a viral condition affecting the nervous system and is typically fatal. It’s transmitted through the saliva of infected animals, usually through a bite. All mammals are susceptible to rabies, but the disease is most common in dogs, bats, and raccoons.
Signs of rabies include:
- Sensitivity to light
There is no specific treatment for rabies, so it’s crucial to get your pet vaccinated against the virus if they haven’t been already. Call your local animal control immediately if your animal companion has been bitten by an animal you suspect might be infected with rabies.
5. Cognitive Dysfunction Syndrome (CDS)
Cognitive dysfunction syndrome (CDS) is a condition that affects the brain and causes problems with memory, learning, perception, and behavior. It’s similar to Alzheimer’s disease in humans. CDS is more common in older dogs but can occur in cats of any age.
Signs of CDS include:
- Loss of train of thought
- Decreased interaction with people or other animals
- Changes in sleeping habits
- Inability to learn new tricks or obey commands
If you notice these signs in your pet, take them to the vet for diagnosis. There is no specific cure for CDS, but there are treatments that can help improve your pet’s quality of life. Treatment typically involves medications to help with symptoms and environmental enrichment to help keep your pet’s mind active.
Having a pet is a big responsibility — sometimes you need different vet specializations, such as veterinary internal medicine, surgery, neurology, etc., to ensure your pet’s overall health. If you notice any illness in your pet, take them to the vet immediately. Early diagnosis and treatment can often improve the chances of survival.
Be sure to choose a vet clinic or hospital with vets specializing in neurology so they can properly diagnose and treat your pet’s condition.