Signs of Polyneuropathy in Canines

Polyneuropathy  pic
Polyneuropathy
Image: petmd.com

A University of Illinois alumnus, Dr. Joel Todd Leroy Prince has practiced veterinary medicine since 1984. A partner at Elmhurst Animal Care Center, Dr. Joel Todd Leroy Prince practices preventive care and has expertise in the diagnosis and treatment of neurological disorders in dogs.

A neurological disorder is a condition that can affect a dog’s brain, nerves, and spinal cord. These disorders, and the ensuing dysfunction, are typically due to an injury or infection of the central or peripheral nervous systems.

Also known as peripheral neuropathy, polyneuropathy is an example of a neurological disorder that affects the peripheral nervous system. Signs of the condition can be varied since peripheral nerves extend throughout a dog’s body. Symptoms include the loss of motor skills, such as reflexes, and low muscle tone. Disorientation, dizziness, and dysfunction of the pain and pleasure receptors can also occur. Moreover, the thyroid gland can be affected, which is sometimes evident by paralysis of the face, throat, esophagus, and voice box.

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What Does it Means When Dogs Lick Ears?

dog licking ears

 

Dr. Joel Todd Leroy Prince is a partner at Elmhurst Animal Care Center in Elmhurst, Illinois. In this role, Dr. Joel Todd Leroy Prince provides preventative care services and other treatments for a variety of pets. The team at Elmhurst Animal Care Center works with patients to help them understand dog behaviors, especially strange ones like licking ears.

Ear-licking behavior is largely motivated by a dog’s pack mentality. Licking ears expresses affection, respects, and dedication to the pack through mutual grooming. At the same time, other factors contribute to this behavior, such as a predilection for flavor of earwax. Dogs often use their tongues to explore the environment, and they can learn that it is a flavor they enjoy.

If a dog suddenly becomes obsessed with another dog’s ear, owners should take note since an ear infection or some other discharge could be the reason.

In general, licking ears is harmless. However, excessive licking can case moisture to build in the ear canal, which leads to other issues. For that reason, owners should discourage the behavior by using distractions like toys or treats to break a dog’s concentration.

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.