The canine patient presented for apparent pain without an obvious cause can be a diagnostic challenge. Thorough examination is an important step in identifying a source of discomfort and determining appropriate diagnostic testing for further evaluation.
BSE is defined as a slow developing neurodegenerative disease of cattle that begins insidiously with subtle signs progressing to terminal recumbency. This is a cerebral disease thus signs are consistent with abnormal mentation. Slight changes in behavior include increased apprehension and tactile and auditory hyperesthesia.
Seizure disorders in young animals pose different considerations as to etiology and therapeutic decisions compared to adult dogs. Congenital, developmental, metabolic, toxic, infectious and inflammatory causes should be considered more likely in younger dogs and puppies. Seizures are the manifestation of abnormal synchronous electrical activity in the brain and are the most common neurological disorder in dogs.
The neurological examination of puppies and kittens can be challenging. Pediatric patients can be uncooperative and their various stages of development lead to different expectations of normalcy compared to adults.
Infectious diseases of the nervous system are relatively uncommon compared to other neurological abnormalities in adult animals. However, infectious diseases should be placed high on the differential diagnosis list in puppies and kittens.
Gait evaluation in the pediatric patient can initially be difficult as puppies first learn to walk and the myelination process matures. As development progresses spinal disorders may become more apparent. Numerous congenital abnormalities resulting in spinal malformation exist.