Neurology & Neurosurgery

The Neurology service is responsible for the investigation and management of all problems arising from the nervous system – this includes the brain, spinal cord, nerves and (in some cases) the muscles.

As opposed to human doctors, veterinary neurologists manage both medical and surgical neurological conditions, making it a very varied speciality. Common problems include epilepsy, meningitis, brain and spinal tumours, intervertebral disc disease (IVDD) and congenital nervous system malformations, but neurology is full of weird-and-wonderful conditions.

My vet thinks my pet has a neurological problem – why have we been referred to Granta Veterinary Specialists?

Granta Veterinary Specialists is a specialist referral hospital, meaning our vets have spent years undergoing further training in their chosen fields in order to become accredited specialists. Granta Veterinary Specialists is here to work with your local vet, to help to diagnose and treat patients with more complicated or unusual problems. Neurology is a very interesting specialty, but also very difficult.

Many neurological conditions are also rare, meaning your local vet may not have seen many patients with the same problem. With more experience of these diseases, our neurology team is better able to recognise the problem and offer a faster route to diagnosis and treatment. Advanced facilities are also required to investigate neurological diseases and these are not often available at your local vet. It is much the same as being referred from your local GP clinic to a human hospital.

Will my pet be having an MRI scan to investigate its neurological problem?

An MRI scan is an advanced imaging technique which can be very useful in investigating many types of neurological problem. It is likely that if your pet is referred to neurology, we may discuss the benefits of performing an MRI scan. However, the referral is primarily for a review of your pet’s case and to discuss all options with a neurologist. Sometimes, MRI is not an appropriate test for all neurological conditions, and sometimes MRI is not suitable for every patient (as, for example, it requires a general anaesthetic). Other investigations we perform include CT scans, radiography (X-rays), ultrasound and electrodiagnostic testing. At Granta Veterinary Specialists, we will always tailor the investigations and treatment to each individual pet, owner, and situation – you can rest assured nothing will be done without your agreement.

Will my pet need to stay overnight at Granta Veterinary Specialists?

More often than not, an overnight stay will be required during the course of your pet’s diagnosis or treatment. The necessity for this will be discussed with you during your consultation. Factors include the timing requirements for some blood tests, the duration of administration of some treatments, monitoring the recovery from anaesthesia or the need for intensive inpatient care for patients suffering from more serious problems. We have vets and nurses on site 24/7, so you can be sure your pet will be well looked after during their stay.

What happens after my pet has been diagnosed with a neurological problem at Granta Veterinary Specialists?

This really depends on each individual case. At Granta Veterinary Specialists, we care deeply about our patients and their long-term outcomes and quality of life. Our care is a partnership with you and your primary care vet. Unfortunately, not all problems have a quick-fix, and some neurological diseases require long-term treatment and follow up. We will always be happy to see you back at Granta Veterinary Specialists but we also understand that repeat visits may be difficult and we will work with you and your local vet to make a solution that works for everyone.

My pet requires ongoing medication – can I source it from you?

We stock and supply all types of medication that we use to treatment neurological conditions. If your pet requires ongoing medication that has been prescribed by us, we can supply it to you – either for collection or by post. We can also recommend medication to be prescribed by your local vet (if they stock it or can source it), or we can provide you with a written prescription to source it elsewhere. In order to be able to prescribe medication, we must have seen your pet recently, though. We are also bound by the regulations of the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons, which limits the quantity of some medications that can be prescribed and dispensed at a single time.

Do you perform spinal surgery at Granta Veterinary Specialists?

We offer all sorts of spinal surgery at Granta Veterinary Specialists, as well as brain surgery, if needed. Our neurologist – Max Foreman – has performed hundreds of neurosurgeries and will be able to discuss this with you in depth during your consultation. Max is also supported by an excellent anaesthesia and nursing team, that has a wide breadth of experience with neurosurgical cases and is essential for providing the best care to a patient undergoing neurosurgery.

I have been asked if my pet can be included in clinical research – what does this mean?

Veterinary neurology is a rapidly expanding field of medicine, and we are constantly learning and understanding better the diseases that we treat. As specialists, we are obliged to contribute to furthering the research in our chosen fields, but this does not mean your pet is being experimented on. There are lots of different types of research; most of the time all we need to do is record and store some information about the pets we see and how they respond to the treatment they receive.

You will always be asked if we would like to include your pet in any research study and full details will be provided. You are always welcome to decline participation at any time. Our aim is only ever to improve the way your pet and future pets are treated. For more information about how you can help us improve animal health worldwide by enrolling your pet in a clinical research trial, please follow this link.