Bessie, a 10 year old pit bull cross, undergoes a Brainstem Auditory Evoked Response test (BAER) in the Neurology/Neurosurgery Service of the William R. Pritchard Veterinary Medical Teaching Hospital at the UC Davis School of Veterinary Medicine. This test can screen for congenital deafness and sensory nerve deafness. It can be used to diagnose deafness in one or both ears. The Veterinary Medical Teaching Hospital performs about 100 BAER tests per year.
Clinical Activities & Procedures
The Neurology/Neurosurgery Service at the UC-Davis VMTH offers specialized veterinary care for animals with neurological diseases. This includes disorders of the brain, inner ear, spinal cord and vertebrae, as well as diseases affecting muscles, nerves and the neuromuscular junction (neuromuscular disease). The service is run by a team of attending veterinarians and residents, specializing in the neurological dysfunction of animals. They provide a number of specialized diagnostic and therapeutic procedures, including ultrasound, fluoroscopy, myelography, linear and computed tomography (CT), and magnetic resonance imaging (MRI). Cerebrospinal fluid collection, intervertebral disc aspiration, aural endoscopy and myringotomy are ancillary diagnostics routinely done by neurology clinicians.
The Electrodiagnostic Laboratory and the Neuromuscular Diseases Laboratory run by the Neurology/Neurosurgery service, conduct highly specialized testing for animals with dysfunction of peripheral nerves, muscle and the neuromuscular junction. Electromyography (EMG), motor and sensory nerve conduction velocity (MNCV and SNCV), repetitive nerve stimulation, somatosensory evoked potentials, single fiber electromyography, F and H waves, are some of the tests routinely carried out in the laboratory. Muscle and nerve biopsies collected from animals with neuromuscular problems are processed in the Neuromuscular Diseases Laboratory.
Electrophysiological evaluation of the ear and brain are also routinely done in the Electrodiagnostic Laboratory. Brainstem auditory evoked potentials (BAER) are done to diagnose deafness and other diseases affecting the ear and brainstem. Electroencephalography (EEG), which records the electrical activity in the brain, is also available.
The Neurology/Neurosurgery service provides consultation, diagnostic testing, medical care and surgery for dogs and cats, as well as a consultation service for horses, food animals, exotic and laboratory animals. Twenty-four hour emergency assistance is also provided for animals with immediate medical and surgical needs.
A complete range of routine neurosurgeries are done by the Neurology/Neurosurgery service. These include dorsal, hemi and hemidorsal laminectomy procedures on all levels of the spine (cervical, thoracic, lumbar and lumbosacral), ventral slot procedure of the cervical spine, intervertebral disc fenestration, and peripheral nerve and nerve root exploration. Spinal stabilization procedures for the treatment of spinal instability or fractures is also done. State of the art neurosurgical procedures offered by the service include stereotactic CT guided brain biopsy, craniotomy and cranioplasty, ventriculoperitoneal shunt placement, intracranial pressure monitoring device placement, and atlantoaxial luxation repair. Critically ill patients and patients recovering from extensive surgery and/or diagnostics are attended to in the Intensive Care Unit (ICU). When stable, there are transferred to the neurology ward, that is staffed 24 hours a day by registered veterinary technicians.
Most of the specialized diagnostic testing for neurology patients requires general anesthesia. Before anesthetizing any neurology patient, a thorough general physical examination and laboratory tests are done (blood and urine tests, chest radiographs, and abdominal ultrasound). Anesthesia for Neurology/Neurosurgery patients is provided by the Anesthesia service, and is available 24 hours a day.