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Neurology / Neurosurgery

The diagnosis and treatment of neurological disorders can be challenging.  At the Maine Veterinary Medical Center we specialize in these challenging disorders of the nervous system, brain, and spinal cord.  Dr. Alan PotthoffDr. Danielle Eifler, and Dr. Amy Hodshon are board certified neurologists with extensive experience in neurology, the diagnosis and treatment of neurological disorders, anestesia delivery and patient pain management.  We are fortunate to have three highly experienced board certified neurologists here at the MVMC. Dr. Potthoff has over 22 years of experience as a board certified neurologist / neurosurgeon and is the founder of MVMC (formerly the Animal Neurology Clinic and the Maine Veterinary Referral Center), and Chief of Staff. Drs. Potthoff, Eiffler, and Hodshon collaborate routinely on challenging cases and are devoted to compassionate understanding of the stress neurological problems put on their owners and their pets. 

If your pet is admitted to the Maine Veterinary Medical Center we have a highly qualified veterinary and nursing staff providing 24 hour medical care and monitoring.

Diagnosis and Treatment of Neurological Disorders

The nervous system is a complex and sensitive system that often requires patience and extensive expertise to diagnosis and treat.  Diagnosing a specific neurologic disorder can be difficult and require a strong collaboration between the pet owner and primary veterinarian and the neurologist.  Our first objectives are to obtain a history of the patient, and to perform a complete physical and neurologic exam.  A thorough neurologic examination is performed to evaluate gait, attitude, postural responses, cranial nerves and spinal reflexes, urinary function and signs indicating central and peripheral nervous system dysfunction.  This critical information will guide the diagnostic and treatment plan option and help owners in their pet health care decisions.  Once diagnosed, many neurologic diseases are treatable with good outcomes. 

Symptoms of Neurological Disorders

Pets with underlying neurologic disorders can exhibit a variety of symptoms.  Some common symptoms of neurologic disorders include:

  • Seizures
  • Head or spinal trauma
  • Unresponsiveness
  • Head tilt
  • Paralysis of limbs
  • Confusion
  • Loss of sight or hearing
  • Tremors
  • Vertigo
  • Circling
  • Behavior changes
  • Neck pain
  • Lameness
  • Limb dragging
  • Ataxia (in coordination)
  • Weakness
  • Fecal or urinary incontinence
  • Gait or stance abnormalities
  • Dropped jaw
  • Paralysis of tongue                                                                                               
  • Abnormal eye movements or positions
  • Drooping eyelids, lips or ears
  • Difficulty chewing or swallowing

Medical and Surgical Treatments

Some neurologic disorders are treated medically and others surgically.  An
accurate diagnosis is critical in determining the appropriate therapy.  Routine
diagnostic testing and medical and surgical treatments performed at the Maine
Veterinary Medical Center include:

  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI)
  • Computed Tomography (CT)
  • Digital Radiology
  • Evaluations of hearing disorders (BAER)
  • Neuromuscular Studies (EMG) Nerve Conduction Studies and Nerve / Muscle  Biopsy
  • Spinal Cord and Vertebral Evaluation (Myelogram / CT)
  • Spinal Fluid Analysis (CSF Tap)
  • Myelography
  • Brain Surgery
  • Spinal Surgery
  • Auditory Surgery
  • Nasal Surgery
  • Neuromuscular Disorders
  • Diagnosis and Management of Seizure Disorders        
  • Diagnosis and Management of Vertigo
  • Diagnosis and Management of Weakness, spinal pain and paralysis                 
  • Management of head and spinal trauma
  • Biopsy (nerve and muscle)

Neurological Disorders

  • Inter Vertebral Disc Disease in Dogs
  • Seizure Management
  • Degenerative Myelopathy
  • Sources of wheelchairs for dogs

Your Pet’s Anesthetic Experience

At the MVMC our commitment to your pet’s anesthetic experience is to maintain optimal comfort and safety, provide extensive in-depth monitoring to detect and resolve patient individual problems, reduce stress and anxiety from a pet being away from home and in a strange environment, and eliminate pain from injury and surgery.  Anesthesia is a dynamic medical procedure that involves critical support throughout emergency and specialty care at the MVMC.

Pain Management at MVMC

In pets, as in people, pain has been shown to delay healing, decrease appetite and decrease prognosis. Pain management is critical at MVMC as an integral part of treatment and is used to maximize prognosis and recovery.