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Sometimes pets develop a problem with their brain, spine, or nerves – and sometimes it just LOOKS like they do, but in fact they have injured a number of joints, or become weak or changed their gait or behaviour because of an internal medical problem. We can assess any pet suspected of having a Neurological problem here at Island Referrals, and then choose imaging and diagnostic tests as needed in order to reach a diagnosis and plan treatment.

Some patients, typically those with a suspected spine problem (gait changes or difficulty walking), might need full Orthopaedic and Neuro-surgical assessment via consultation with our Specialist Surgeon in the first instance. These may then require diagnostic imaging such as CT or MRI scan, plus further testing, to reach a diagnosis – and then could require surgery to fix the problem.

Among other things, the team at Island Referrals are able to treat:


  • Acute and chronic intervertebral disk extrusion and protrusion (cervical (neck), back (thoracolumbar), lumbosacral)
  • Fractures and luxations
  • Selected spinal cord and nerve sheath tumours
  • Infections (discospondylitis, spinal empyema)
  • Atlantoaxial subluxation (selected cases)

Patients suspected to have a brain problem can be assessed fully at Island Referrals, via our Outpatient MRI Service with Specialist Neurologist support via telemedical link. These patients will primarily remain the responsibility of their own vet, unless they need subsequently to be referred to our Neuro-Surgery team, for example for:


  • Trauma
  • Abscess
  • Cancer (selected accessible tumours ie meningioma)
  • Hydrocephalus (selected cases)
  • Chiari-like malformation and syringomyelia (selected cases)

If surgery is undertaken on a Brain or Spinal patient, there may be the need for a reasonable period of Rehabilitation and Physiotherapy post-operatively. This can be arranged on-island in a number of ways, and the Referrals team will provide ongoing help and support where needed as part of our follow-up service.