ISSN 2398-2985      

Neurological examination

Jreptile

Introduction

  • The primary aims of a neurologic examination are to confirm whether or not a neurologic abnormality exists and to determine the location of the lesion(s) within the nervous system.
  • Having a standard order in which the examination is performed helps reduce omissions of tests and observations.
  • The rationale for the sequence of the examination is:
    • It starts at the head and proceeds caudally to the tail.
    • It is used for patients of all sizes and whether the patient is ambulatory or recumbent.
    • It considers the anatomic location of lesions as the examination proceeds.
    • Even if parts of the examination must be omitted because of the nature of the patient, suspicion of fracture, or financial constraints, the sequence ought to be followed.
  • Frequently, the presence of a neurologic lesion(s) cannot be deduced until the end of a thorough neurologic, and sometimes orthopedic, examination. 
  • After localization of the problem, and consideration of the signalment and historical disease course, a realistic differential diagnosis list can be formulated.
  • Diagnostic tests are next chosen to ascertain the ultimate diagnosis.
  • An accurate diagnosis provides information important for formulation of a treatment plan and realistic prognosis for the owner.
  • Assessment of neurological function in reptiles must be performed with the reptile at their preferred optimal temperature. Hypothermia Hypothermia will cause reflexes to be reduced or absent.

Equipment required

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Approach

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Involuntary movements

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Postural reactions

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Cranial nerve examination

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Spinal reflexes

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Ancillary diagnostic aids

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Further Reading

Publications

Refereed Papers

  • Recent references from PubMed and VetMedResource.
  • Hedley J, MacHale J, Rendle M & Crawford A (2021) Neurological examinations in healthy juvenile Bearded dragons (Pogona vitticeps) and adult Leopard geckos (Eublepharis macularius). J Herpetol Med Surg 31 (2), 141-146 BioOne.
  • Hunt C (2015) Neurological examination and diagnostic testing in birds and reptiles. J Exotic Pet Med 24 (1), 34-51 SciDirect.
  • Mariani C L (2007) The neurologic examination and neurodiagnostic techniques for reptiles. Vet Clin North Am Exotic Anim Pract 10 (3), 855-891 PubMed.

Other sources of information

  • Girling S J (2019) Neurology. In: BSAVA Manual of Reptiles. Eds: Girling S J & Raiti P. BSAVA, UK. pp 353-364.
  • Platt S R (2019) Neurology. In: Mader’s Reptile and Amphibian Medicine and Surgery. 3rd edn. Eds: Divers S J & Stahl S J. Elsevier, USA. pp 805-826

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