Peripheral Neuropathy in Dogs

Peripheral Neuropathy pic
Peripheral Neuropathy
Image: petmd.com

As a DVM, Dr. Joel Todd Leroy Prince has been practicing veterinary medicine since 1984. Additionally, he is active with several associations, including the American Veterinary Medical Association, the Illinois State Veterinary Medical Association, and the Chicago Veterinary Medical Association. Dr. Joel Todd Leroy Prince’s primary interests are soft tissue and orthopedic surgical procedures, oncology, and neurological disorders.

Peripheral neuropathy is a nerve disorder in dogs that affects multiple peripheral nerves. Unlike the protected nerves of the spine, the peripheral nerves are exposed to elements that come into contact with the dog’s body, leaving them more prone to toxic damage and physical injury. Peripheral nerves are spread throughout the body and are responsible for conscious movement, flow of the digestive system, and automatic physical responses.

Numerous conditions are linked to peripheral neuropathy, or the degeneration of the sheath which protects the peripheral nerves. Examples include an underactive thyroid gland, autonomic movement disorder affecting motor and sensorimotor nerves, dysfunction of the autonomic nervous system, and sensory nerve disorders.

Neurological Diseases in Dogs

Joel Todd Leroy Prince pic
Joel Todd Leroy Prince

Dr. Joel Todd Leroy Prince is a small animal veterinarian who resides and works in Illinois. In addition to serving as a partner at Elmhurst Animal Care Center, he brings his more than two decades of medical experience to three additional clinics in the Chicago area. Dr. Joel Todd Leroy Prince focuses his practice on companion animal preventive care, and is dedicated to continuing his professional education in fields such as neurological disorders.

There are a number of neurological disorders that can affect your pets. Three of these medical conditions, and their effect on canines, are outlined below.

Parkinson’s Disease. Though in humans this condition most often affects the elderly, dogs with this hereditary, degenerative disease often begin experiencing symptoms such as tremors, stiff muscles, and poor balance at a young age.

Epilepsy. Believed to also be hereditary in dogs, epilepsy causes repetitive seizures that range in severity. Animals afflicted with this condition are often prescribed anticonvulsant drugs, and require regular veterinarian appointments.

Degenerative Myelopathy. A result of degeneration in the spinal cord and peripheral nerves, this condition occurs quite suddenly in adult dogs, and is seen most often in German Shepherds, corgis, and boxers. The hind legs gradually become weaker over six months to a year, until the animal is no longer able to support themselves at the rear.

Easing a Cat’s Anxiety at the Veterinarian’s Office

Elmhurst Animal Care Center pic
Elmhurst Animal Care Center
Image: elmhurstanimalcarecenter.com

At Elmhurst Animal Care Center, Dr. Joel Todd Leroy Prince and his team maintain a cat-friendly environment. Dr. Joel Todd Leroy Prince and his fellow veterinarians uphold a commitment to reducing the anxiety that cats often feel during veterinarian visits.

For many cats and their owners, a visit to the veterinarian is synonymous with stress. Part of cats’ fear stems from the negative associations that they develop with key parts of the visit, such as the carrier and the car ride. Owners often find that if they incorporate these experiences more into the cat’s everyday life, the cat becomes less likely to associate them with a stressful vet visit and thus less likely to find them anxiety provoking.

Once the cat actually arrives at the vet, the key to reduced stress comes via an understanding of what the animal finds comforting. Cats generally feel safest when they can hide from perceived threats, so a towel over the cat’s carrier can often help. This also ensures that the cat cannot see other pets in the waiting room.

Waiting rooms can also be stressful because they are filled with loud noises and unpleasant smells. Cats’ heightened sense of smell means that they can become highly anxious if faced with such common veterinary office smells as blood, disinfectants, and deodorizers. Similarly, because cats are particularly perceptive, they can pick up on the stress of other pets or humans in the waiting room.

Cat-friendly practices often strive to eliminate these types of stimuli. If such an office is not available, the owner may wish to advocate for his or her cat’s needs by asking to wait in the hallway or car. Another strategy is the use of feline facial pheromone (FFP), which many practices spray in cat care areas and which is available commercially.

Symptoms of Feline Idiopathic Epilepsy

Feline Idiopathic Epilepsy pic
Feline Idiopathic Epilepsy
Image: elmhurstanimalcarecenter.com

As a board-certified small animal veterinarian at Elmhurst Animal Care Center, and at other practices in and around Naperville, Illinois, Dr. Joel Todd Leroy Prince treats a wide variety of canine and feline illnesses. Dr. Joel Todd Leroy Prince pursues a particular interest in epilepsy and other neurological conditions.

Seizures in cats often present as a sign of idiopathic epilepsy, a congenital condition with no identifiable cause. The disease causes the neurons in the brain to fire abnormally and excessively, which in turn prompts abnormal behaviors, sensations, and muscle contractions. During such an event, the cat may fall to the floor, stiffen, or paddle its limbs. Many cats lose control of their bladder and bowels as well.

A seizure often occurs following an aura, also known as a focal onset, during which time the cat may become agitated. Some cats in this stage seek comfort from their human companions, while others attempt to hide themselves. After the seizure that follows, the cat is likely to appear confused and disoriented.

Owners of cats with idiopathic epilepsy may be able to control these symptoms through the use of anticonvulsant medications. It is unlikely that a cat with the condition will ever be symptom-free, but veterinarians and owners can work toward minimizing serious side effects.

Canine Anterior Cruciate Ligament Tears

 

anterior cruciate ligament (ACL)
anterior cruciate ligament (ACL)

As a board-certified small animal veterinarian, Dr. Joel Todd Leroy Prince cares for dogs and cats at a number of practices in and around Elmhurst, Illinois. In his practice, Dr. Joel Todd Leroy Prince focuses on orthopaedic care and surgery.

Like humans, dogs are susceptible to tears of the anterior cruciate ligament (ACL). Located in the back leg and also known as the cranial cruciate ligament (CCL), this structure is responsible for connecting the rear of the upper leg bone with the front of the lower leg bone. This connection keeps the leg stable, but can tear if too much tension is placed on the joint.

Overweight dogs are at particular risk of an ACL tear, as are such breeds as the Newfoundland, Rottweiler, and Labrador Retriever. Many cases develop gradually, with the ligament weakening to the point where it ruptures suddenly, though it is possible for a dog to torque the leg and cause a sudden tear to the ligament.

Dogs who present with a tear, regardless of cause, undergo assessment that involves testing for abnormal forward momentum. Positive results of this or related testing most often leads to a recommendation for ligament replacement surgery, followed by restricted activity. Dogs ineligible for this course of treatment may receive a recommendation of medical management and minimal exercise.

Reasons to Consider Adopting an Animal

Animal Adoption pic
Animal Adoption
Image: elmhurstanimalcarecenter.com

A graduate of the University of Illinois College of Veterinary Medicine, Dr. Joel Todd Leroy Prince has more than 25 years of experience as a small-animal veterinarian. Dr. Joel Todd Leroy Prince is a partner at the Elmhurst Animal Care Center in Elmhurst, Illinois, which offers pet owners a wide array of services, including a free initial examination, parasite check, and rabies vaccination for pets they have decided to adopt from a local animal shelter or rescue center.

There are a number of reasons to consider adopting an animal. One of the most compelling reasons to adopt rather than purchase through a breeder or a pet store is that an adopted pet represents a life saved. Breeders often line up prospective families prior to the birth of animals, ensuring they will be taken care of. On the other hand, more than 2.7 million cats and dogs are euthanized every year simply because shelters do not have the resources to keep them. Every adopted animal is an animal that has escaped this tragic fate.

Similarly, pet stores and online breeders often receive animals from backyard breeders, who frequently breed and raise animals in an unsafe and unhealthy manner. Rescuing an animal is a great way to fight against these operations.

Adopted animals can provide their owners with a number of economic benefits as well. For instance, older animals are often house trained, reducing the likelihood that the animal will cause damage to carpets and furniture. In addition, many shelter animals have been spayed or neutered, received important vaccinations, and may even be microchipped.

Finally, shelters are full of loving, social animals that have been displaced, not because of bad behavior but because previous owners have been forced to give their animals up, due to a move or another life change. Adopting one of these animals allows them to live the life they deserve.

Diabetes in Dogs and Cats

Elmhurst Animal Care Center pic
Elmhurst Animal Care Center
Image: elmhurstanimalcarecenter.com

Dr. Joel Todd Leroy Prince earned his veterinary degree in 1984 from the University of Illinois. Certified by the American Board of Veterinary Practitioners as a canine and feline specialist, he serves as a partner at the Elmhurst Animal Care Center outside of Chicago. Many of the disorders for which Dr. Todd Prince treats dogs and cats are similar or even identical to human ailments, including, among others, cancer, Alzheimer’s disease, epilepsy, hypertension, and diabetes.

Diabetes mellitus is a hormonal disorder related to insulin, a hormone produced in the pancreas that cells use to convert glucose in the blood to energy. Type I diabetes is characterized by the body’s insufficient production of insulin, including an inability to produce the hormone at all. Type II diabetes occurs when the body does produce insulin but the cells don’t use it properly.

Type II diabetes among humans is a major public health concern in the U.S. It’s also becoming more common among dogs and cats. In 1970, about 1 in 1,250 cats was diagnosed with diabetes, and about 1 in 500 dogs had the disease. By the turn of the century, the incidence of diabetes had increased to about 1 in 81 in cats and about 1 in 166 in dogs.

Typical symptoms of diabetes in dogs and cats include an increase in hunger, thirst, and urination, irritability, vision problems, increased fatigue, and unexplained loss of weight. Pet owners who observe these symptoms in their dogs or cats should have them examined by their veterinarian, who has several tests available to diagnose the disease.

Diabetes in dogs and cats is treated much the same as it is in humans, first by modifying the diet to one low in carbohydrates and high in fiber and protein, and instituting an exercise and weight program. Other treatment options include oral medications and injected insulin.