The neurological system represents one of the communication mechanisms in the dog’s body. The nervous system includes the brain, spinal cord, and branching nerves that conduct signals throughout the entire body.
Anatomically, the nervous system consists of two main areas: central, the brain and spinal cord; and peripheral, the nerves coming from the brain and spinal cord to innervate areas of the body. The control of the nervous system falls into two separate categories: the somatic and autonomic nervous systems. The somatic nervous system relays voluntary (conscious) signals to activate skeletal muscle movement to allow your pet to navigate its surroundings. In contrast, the autonomic nervous system relays involuntary (unconscious) signals to regions of the body to control your pet’s internal organs, such as the lungs, heart, and intestinal tract.
Indications that your pet may have a neurologic problem include seizures, weakness, inability to rise/walk, incontinence, sudden blindness, behavior changes, and pain.
Common conditions that affect the nervous system in dogs include:
- Epilepsy , a seizure disorder of unknown causes
- Intervertebral disc disease , a prolapse of disc material that cushions the bones of the spine
- Congenital abnormalities, such as hydrocephalus (also known as, water in the brain)
- Infectious causes, such as Distemper virus