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Can dogs get Parkinson's disease?

Can dogs get Parkinson's disease?

There are a host of neurological conditions that strike people every year, the same is true for dogs. Today our Winston-Salem veterinary neurologist shares a little about Parkinson's disease in dogs.

Can dogs have Parkinson's?

Yes, like their human companions dogs can also be stricken by a number of neurological diseases and conditions including Parkinson's. In humans Parkinson's disease is largely considered a disease of the elderly, however in dogs Parkinson's disease is thought to be hereditary condition. Although some experts believe that injury may also play a key role in the development of Parkinson’s in dogs. 

What causes Parkinson's in dogs?

This progressive neurological condition is caused by a loss if nerve cells that produce the essential neurotransmitter dopamine. Parkinson's leads to a number of issues for dogs including impaired balance and walking, as well as muscle stiffness and tremors.

How do I know if my dog has Parkinson's?

Some of the most common signs and symptoms of Parkinson's disease in dogs include:

  • Tremors in one or more legs
  • Fidgeting or restlessness
  • Stiff, inflexible muscles
  • Unusually slow movement

The symptoms of Parkinson's will gradually become more severe over time. Which is why early diagnosis and treatment are essential for slowing the progression of the symptoms. As of yet, there is no cure for Parkinson's in people or dogs.

How is Parkinson's diagnosed in dogs?

Your veterinarian will take a thorough history of your dog's health and current symptoms, then do a full examination. If your vet suspects Parkinson's disease, they may take a series of blood tests or do a urinalysis in order to rule out other conditions that could be causing your dog's symptoms.

Once other conditions have been ruled out, your vet may refer you to a veterinary specialist for further testing and treatment. At Carolina Veterinary Specialists in Winston-Salem, pets with neurological conditions such as Parkinson's are diagnosed and treated by our board-certified veterinary neurologist,.

Further testing for neurological conditions such as Parkinson's may include advanced diagnostic testing such as MRI or CT scans.

How is Parkinson's treated in dogs?

If your dog is diagnosed with Parkinson's your veterinary specialist may recommend a number of different approaches for reducing your dog's symptoms. Physical rehabilitation (physiotherapy for dogs) can be helpful for pain management, and there are a number of drugs and supplements that may be recommended to help reduce tremors and maintain your dog's muscle mass. While there is no cure for Parkinson's in dogs, your veterinary neurologist will be able to recommend ways to improve your pet's quality of life.

If your dog is displaying symptoms of Parkinson's disease it is important to seek an accurate diagnosis. Contact your primary care vet for a full examination and testing, or bring your dog to our emergency department in Winston-Salem. The emergency vets at Carolina Veterinary Specialists are available late nights, weekends, and holidays. Contact us when your pet needs emergency care.

Caring for Winston-Salem Pets

At Carolina Veterinary Specialists, we accept new clients to our specialty services by referral only. Our 24/7 emergency service welcomes all clients.

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