Spotting Neurological Problems in Pets
By Anne Chauvet, DVM DACVIM Neurology
The world of veterinary medicine is rapidly growing and specialists now are readily available. I am one of approximately 250 diplomates of the American College of Veterinary Internal Medicine (ACVIM) in Neurology. Most pet owners do not even know that this specialty exists despite our growing popularity in the veterinary field. So when would a pet owner actually need to bring their companion to a neurologist or neurosurgeon?
If you pet has seizures, convulsions, tremors or twitches, you probably need to see a neurologist. If you pet is dragging the front or back legs, scuffing them, wearing nails down, if your loved one looks woozy or confused – you probably need to see a neurologist. When your pet circles out of control, hugs the walls for support, gets stuck in corners of the house, you probably need a neurologist. That Beagle whose neck now looks hunched and cries when you get close to its head that he keeps low to the ground needs a neurologist and possibly a neurosurgeon.
Do you suspect your Dalmatian puppy cannot hear? A neurologist can check that out for you. Has your dog experienced sudden blindness and the ophthalmologist cannot find anything wrong? Go see a neurologist! If your senior Labrador just cannot get up and keeps rolling on himself with his eyes looking furtively in every direction, you definitively need to rush to a neurologist.
Is your neighbor’s Bichon Frise not able to walk more than a few feet without tightening up and sitting down, or unable to get up again until resting for a while? Please direct your neighbor to a veterinary neurologist. That wild pup jumped out of the back of the couch and now cannot use his front leg but there is no fracture. Guess what? It is probably right up the alley of a neurologist. If you notice that your cat is walking on her hocks (plantigrade), you need a neurologist!
In veterinary medicine, a neurologist will do what a human/physician neurologist will do plus be a neurosurgeon, an electrodiagnostician, a neuroradiologist and even a neuropathologist at times. We do this because we love to help pets whose brains, spinal cords, nerves or muscles don’t work. In the end, it is all about putting families back together, isn’t it?
CriticalVetCare, based in Sarasota, Fla., is a 24-hour emergency and specialty clinic with comprehensive diagnostic capabilities. The clinic was founded by veterinary neurologist and neurosurgeon Dr. Anne Chauvet in 2010. The practice also treats brain, spinal cord and neuromuscular conditions in animals. CriticalVetCare is located at 4937 S. Tamiami Trail, Sarasota, Fla. More information is available online at www.CriticalVetCare.com and www.Facebook.com/CriticalVetCare, or by calling 941-929-1818.
About Dr. Chauvet
Dr. Chauvet was born in France and raised in Gabon, Africa as well as Saskatoon, Canada. She received her Doctorate from the University of Saskatchewan, in Canada. She completed an internship in Small Animal Medicine and Surgery at the University of Illinois, and a residency in Neurology/Neurosurgery at the prestigious University of California, in Davis. She received her diplomate status with the American College of Veterinary Internal Medicine in 1995 and is one of less than 250 neurology diplomates in the nation.
Dr. Chauvet was a clinical instructor in Neurology/neurosurgery at the University of Wisconsin in Madison, and was involved in gene therapy research for brain cancer. In 1998, she developed an international course in Basic Science in Veterinary and Comparative Neurology and Neurosurgery that is now considered a standard for veterinary neurologists. She is published in both veterinary and human medical journals, and continues to speak internationally. Dr. Chauvet is an active member of the SWFVMA, IWF, FVMA, AVMA, and ACVIM.
Dr. Chauvet has won a multitude of awards and has been recognized by local, national and international organizations for her community involvement and support. In her spare time, Dr. Chauvet volunteers at local children’s charities (Children’s First, Safe Children Coalition). Dr. Chauvet has two boys, Vincent and Devan, who keep her energized and smiling. She and the boys own a multitude of pets.