Once a diagnosis is made, appropriate therapy can be considered. There are several groups of drugs that are used to treat disorders of the nervous system. Drugs used to treat epileptic seizures are known as anticonvulsants. Anti--inflammatory medications, including corticosteroids, are used to reduce swelling and inflammation in many types of injuries. These medications may be given intravenously in some cases (such as spinal cord injury) and by mouth in others. Other medications may be needed to relieve muscle spasms caused by neurologic disorders or to treat infections of the nervous system.
After cranial surgery, and in animals with brain tumors or head injuries, there is a risk of swelling caused by an accumulation of fluid in the brain. Mannitol or corticosteroid medications can be given intravenously to reduce the swelling. (For a more detailed discussion, see
Drugs Used to Treat Brain, Spinal Cord, and Nerve Disorders, see Drugs and Vaccines: Drugs Used to Treat Brain, Spinal Cord, and Nerve Disorders.)
Paraplegic or quadriplegic animals need intensive nursing care. The dog should be kept on padding and turned every 4 to 6 hours to help prevent sores from developing on the skin. The skin must be kept clean and free of urine and feces. Urinalyses must be done every 2 to 4 weeks to monitor for bladder infection. Quadriplegic animals need to be hand fed and given plenty of water. Manually flexing and massaging the dog's joints and muscles can delay muscle wasting in paralyzed limbs.
Last full review/revision July 2011 by William B. Thomas, DVM, MS, DACVIM (Neurology); Cheryl L. Chrisman, DVM, MS, EDS, DACVIM (Neurology); Charles E. Rupprecht, VMD, MS, PhD; Kyle G. Braund, BVSc, MVSc, PhD, FRCVS, DACVIM (Neurology); Caroline N. Hahn, DVM, MSc, PhD, DECEIM, DECVN, MRCVS; Charles M. Hendrix, DVM, PhD; Karen R. Munana, DVM, MS, DACVIM (Neurology); T. Mark Neer, DVM, DACVIM; Robert Wylie, BVSc, QDA