Neurologic disorders encompass diseases of the brain, spine and the nerves that connect them. Structural, biochemical or electrical abnormalities can result in a range of symptoms including paralysis, muscle weakness or cramping/stiffness, poor coordination or movement disorders, confusion, altered levels of consciousness and seizures.
Epilepsy is the condition of recurrent seizures and has many causes including toxins, metabolic conditions and primary conditions such as a brain tumor. Idiopathic or common epilepsy refers to an unknown cause and is believed to have a genetic basis. Any breed can have epilepsy but some breeds seem to have a higher incidence. Because epilepsy is not a single disease, its prevalence in dogs is not known, however estimates of up to 5% of the canine population are cited. Little is known about prevalence in Norwich Terriers. A recent white paper, Understanding Canine Epilepsy (2014) by the Canine Health Foundation provides an overview. Accurate diagnosis is important in order to determine the most appropriate treatment.
Degenerative Myelopathy (DM) is a neurological disorder that is an incurable, progressive disease of the canine spinal cord causing progressive paralysis. DM is seen most frequently in the German shepherd dog, Pembroke Welsh Corgi, and Boxer, with onset typically after the age of 7 years. A gene has been identified that is associated with a major increase in risk of the disease. This gene has been reported in several Norwich Terriers, but has never been expressed (carrier, but not affected).