Words You Might Hear Us Use


We use a variety of words to describe what is happening in your pet's central nervous system, each with a very specific meaning.

  • ATAXIA - This is a lack of muscle coordination. If a pet's mental function is normal, the source of its ataxia is in its spinal cord.
  • PARALYSIS - Temporary or permanent complete loss of muscle function causes paralysis.
  • PARESIS - Paresis is an incomplete form of paralysis. With help getting up, for example, a pet with paresis can support itself.
  • ASCENDING PARESIS, PARALYSIS - The condition starts in the hindquarters and progressively moves forwards to the front limbs and head.
  • SHIVERING and TREMBLING - Shivering is actually a high-frequency contraction and relaxation of muscles while tremors involve repetitive rhythmic oscillations. Both are involuntary.
  • COMA - A pet in a coma is unconscious and cannot be aroused.
  • STUPOR - A pet is unconscious but can temporarily be aroused before falling back into its stupor.
  • CONCUSSION - This is a result of a physical blow to the head. A concussed pet may be unconscious for only seconds but also much longer. Concussion kills brain cells.
  • CONTUSION - A contusion is brain bruising which may or may not be associated with loss of consciousness. A contused pet is temporarily dazed, confused and wobbly but quickly recovers.
  • SEIZURE - A generalised seizure involves a loss of consciousness accompanied by involuntary activities such as muscle contractions, paddling with the limbs, trembling and face twitching. During a seizure pets frequently salivate, urinate and defecate. The pupils are dilated. A partial seizure involves only some of these changes and does not necessarily include loss of consciousness. Seizures are the most common brain condition we treat.
  • CONVULSION - This word is used interchangeably with "seizure" or "fit".
  • FIT - This word is used interchangeably with "seizure" or convulsion".
  • EPILEPSY - A disturbance in electrical activity in the brain that causes a seizure-fit-convulsion.
  • NYSTAGMUS - An involuntary and rhythmic movement of the eyeballs.

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