An accurate history and thorough physical and neurologic examinations are necessary to evaluate a problem involving the nervous system. An understanding of functional neuroanatomy, neurophysiologic concepts, and mechanisms of disease is a prerequisite for accurate interpretation of clinical findings. Based on the initial clinical assessment, the problem may be defined as diffuse, multifocal, or focal; symmetric or asymmetric; painful or nonpainful; progressive, regressive, or static; and mild, moderate, or severe. In addition, the anatomic locations can be determined. The potential mechanisms of disease must also be considered in determining differential diagnoses. Further diagnostic tests include clinicopathologic tests (on serum, blood, urine, feces, and CSF), diagnostic imaging (including plain and contrast radiography, CT, and MRI), and electrodiagnostic testing.
Last full review/revision July 2011 by Thomas Schubert, DVM, DACVIM, DABVP