When you are dealing with your pet’s health it can be very scary. When entering unchartered waters such as neurological problems, even more so. A broken leg, even cancer, you can wrap your head around. You understand what it is and can understand treatment options.
But when discussing your pet’s changing behavior and symptoms with a veterinary neurologist, it is so elusive sometimes. The subtlest thing you may have noticed in your pet, something you chalked up to aging or boredom, has great significance to the neurologist.
You start to think you are imagining things like your dog turning in circles or nodding its head or looking away or being slower to respond to a command. All this is very important to report to your neurologist. Even something as simple as your dog not turning to you when you call his name, when he always did so before, is a symptom of something systemic going on.
You embark on a journey of endless tests and discussions and observations. You start carrying your phone around in order to capture anything new on video. You log everything down from “Did he eat his meal?” to “Did he urinate more often today?”
And while you may start to think you are being overly dramatic and reporting things that don’t matter, the most important job the neurologist does it listen. What you may think is insignificant brings a new look to the doctor’s face and you realize “That really is a change and important!”
Establish a good rapport with your pet’s doctors and in some cases there may be many and different specialties intertwined. They may require numerous tests and they are not inexpensive so it is such a good idea to get pet insurance when your pet is healthy – you just never know when dramatic illness will arise.
But the most important thing is to remain calm and really listen back when the doctor is explaining things to you. Even if she isn’t quite sure what is happening, this is a journey you are on together. The better you can observe your pet and report to the neurologist what is happening, the more information she has and the quicker she can determine the next steps.
Be your pet’s advocate and even the unknown will be a little less scary.