Neuromuscular diseases affect animals as well as humans, and one of the most common is known as Acquired Myasthenia Gravis. It's a disorder that interrupts communication between the nerves and the muscles. It's also an autoimmune disease, meaning it's caused by the body's own immune system turning against itself. Specifically, the immune system attacks and destroys junctions, which are places where the neurons (nerve cells) and muscles interconnect. Once these junctions are destroyed, the adjacent muscles cannot be controlled or are poorly controlled.
With myasthenia gravis, a dog will experience muscle weakness, especially in the limbs and the muscles affecting the eyes, facial expressions, throat and esophagus. Sixty percent of affected dogs will become fatigued after any significant exercise; others will develop difficulty swallowing or noticeable changes in their voice. The dog may appear only slightly affected, or else be almost entirely immobile. [...]
One of the more heartbreaking disorders that can strike your dog is an inherited brain disorder known as cerebellar abiotrophy. In this condition there is premature aging and deterioration of the cerebellum, which is the part of the brain that controls movement and coordination. In most animals with this condition, the cerebellum matures normally before the puppy is born, but then specific cells in the cerebellum, known as Purkinje cells, deteriorate steadily after birth. Occasionally cells in other areas of the brain are affected as well. [...]
Groups of related diseases are often combined into one category, for medical classification purposes. That's the case with polyneuropathy - an umbrella term that describes a group of disorders which affect multiple nerves. These diseases can strike any combination of nerves, and may be either inherited or developed later in the dog's life (acquired).
Polyneuropathy affects the peripheral nerves. These nerves are found outside of the brain and spinal cord, which together comprise the central nervous system. The term "neuropathy" simply means that some part of the peripheral nervous system isn't functioning properly. [...]
Among the many inherited conditions that can affect your dog's eyes are a group known as corneal dystrophies. These conditions cause abnormal corneal development, usually in both eyes, and lead to various problems with the animal's vision. Depending upon the type, one or more layers of the cornea (the transparent lens that covers the front of the eye) will be affected. The major types of corneal dystrophies are:
Epithelial Dystrophy, which causes shallow but painful ulcers and erosion on the surface of the cornea.
Endothelial Dystrophy, which affects the function of the endothelial cells, causing a buildup of fluid in the cornea (also known as corneal edema). [...]
One of the more recently recognized disorders in dogs is one known by several terms, including Canine Epileptoid Cramping Syndrome, CECS, or "Spike's Disease." A tricky disease that is often misdiagnosed as epilepsy, CECS is considered to be a problem of multiple body systems, including the metabolic, neurological and muscular systems.
The symptoms of CECS vary, and an affected animal may display many of them or only a few at one time. Symptoms include trembling, staggering, dizziness, exaggerated stretching, and an unusually slow or methodical posture while walking. Also, the dog's abdominal and lumbar (back) muscles may cramp severely, and the animal may fall over and be unable to rise. [...]
Hydrocephalus, also known as water on the brain, is a very serious and usually fatal condition in many of the toy breeds of dogs. It can also occur in almost any other breed due to toxin ingestion by a pregnant female, through trauma or injury to the head, brain or spinal column or through several different disease and genetic conditions. In toy breeds the condition is often congenital which means the puppies have the condition from birth. Any breeding dogs that produce litters where hydrocephalus is diagnosed should be spayed or neutered or restricted from any further use in breeding programs. The breeds that have the highest incidence of hydrocephalus include the Chihuahua, Pomeranian, Maltese and Yorkshire Terrier. [...]
There are several differences in the human skeletal structure and that of a dog, but there are just as many similarities. The spine of both a human and dog is made up of a series of small vertebrae that form the solid structure of the spine. Each one of the vertebrae is made of bone, and if not cushioned from each other would be very painful and cause pressure and pinching of the delicate bundle of nerves known as the spinal cord that travels through the center of the vertebrae. To provide cushioning between each vertebrae there is a series of flexible cartilage discs known as intervertebral discs between each. These discs provide the movement of the spine as well as protection for the spinal cord during movement and protection of the bones of the vertebrae from rubbing and wearing. [...]
As in humans, canine seizures are defined by a repeated, involuntary behavior or movement with an unapparent stimulus. They are typically broken down into three different classifications that are treated and handled differently.
Generalized, or grand mal seizures are by far the most common type. Grand mal seizures usually involve the entire body and are typified by the often seen cyclical stiffening and contracting of the muscles, over and over again, alternately. The victim of a grand mal seizure usually loses consciousness.
Partial seizures are those seizures which originate from a very specific area of the brain and as such manifest only in a very specific area of the body. A twitching limb or spasming eyes might be a sign of partial seizures. [...]
Despite the rather ominous sounding name, white shaker dog syndrome is not fatal and is very rarely a serious problem for most dogs that develop the condition and are treated. As can be assumed from the name is it most commonly found in white dogs such as the Maltese, Bichon Frise, Poodle, and the West Highland White Terrier. It has also been noted in breeds that are not white in color such as the Yorkshire Terrier and the Beagle. Some all white breeds of dogs that are medium to large in size do not exhibit the condition; rather it seems to be more specific to the smaller breeds of dogs.
White shaker dog syndrome is usually first noted in a puppy and young dog between the ages of six months and three years. The dogs will usually start with a slight tremor that will either stay mild in nature or become more pronounced for a period of about three to four days. Once it has reached this stage the tremor will typically stay at that intensity unless it is treated. [...]
Ataxia is a disease where a feline's gait, which is the way it moves, walks, runs, jumps and so on, is severely uncoordinated and the animal appears to stumble, is clumsy, wobbly, and rather odd looking. The reasons for ataxia depend upon the disease it may have contracted. It is primary a neurological disorder resulting from problems in the brain or inner ear. But can have non neurological causes as well.
Some causes of ataxia are genetic and run in families, while others could be brought on because of a feline virus or infection, or simply by the cat's general life style.
A feral cat that is found starving and dehydrated or is severely anemic can become very weak and this would be a cause of ataxia. [...]
Most puppies have worms when they are born, that they contracted from their mother. Fleas and worms are another health concern that can cause a variety of problems. New puppy owners have to deal with this as both part of their puppy's care and the duration of their dogs' life. Worms are nasty parasites that usually live in a puppy's digestive system, but some do invade the heart or other organs. Puppies experience problems ranging from anemia and vomiting or, in the case of heartworm, even death if left untreated. After a veterinarian identifies the problem, treatment is normally very effective and straightforward. [...]
Dermoid sinus is a condition that occurs in several breeds but is most common in the Rhodesian Ridgeback, the Shih Tzu and the Boxer. The breed most highly affected by the condition is the Rhodesian Ridgeback, although it may also show up in mixed breeds with a history of Rhodesian Ridgeback breeding in their line. Dermoid sinus is caused by a recessive gene, which means that both the male and female must carry the gene for the condition in order for the offspring to have the condition. If any puppy in the litter is born with the condition, breeders know that both parents are carriers of the gene, even if they do not have any signs of dermoid sinus themselves. These dogs should not be bred again to prevent the possibility of producing puppies with the condition and stop puppies being born that will be carriers. It is important to note that not only should the affected puppy be neutered or spayed, but all littermates have the likelihood of being carriers so they should also be spayed or neutered and not allowed to be used in breeding programs. [...]
Perhaps not surprisingly people feed their beloved dogs and companion pets a variety of foods that are not really healthy or may even be downright poisonous. They do this not because they are uncaring owners but because they may not understand the nutritional problems they are causing. Most people care a very great deal about their dog's health and really want to see their pet as happy as possible, which is where the dog's diet sometimes gets a bit dangerous. [...]
Neurological conditions are those conditions that affect the central nervous system or the functioning of the muscles in relation to nerve impulses. Many of the conditions that can occur in dogs also occur in humans as well as other animals, which means there is considerable research and information available on these conditions. Just as with humans, there are medications that can be used to treat some of the neurological conditions, such as epilepsy, but others are progressively degenerative and usually result in death in a relatively short period of time. This is largely due to the brain's control over all the body processes including breathing, circulation and movement. When any or all of these systems become dysfunctional there is a greater risk to the dog to develop other related health problems that tend to make successful treatment and full recovery much more challenging. [...]