Specializing in Canine and Feline Neurology and Neurosurgery for over 35 years

Neurology is the study of (-ology) the nervous system (neuro-). In order to gain an understanding of the neurological diseases that affect pets, a basic knowledge of the neurological system, neuroanatomy, neurological terms and classification of neurological disease is helpful. The Neurology Overview provides the guest with an introduction to this information.

The Nervous System

Click to learn more about the nervous system (link provided by: University of Florida, College of Veterinary Medicine)


Neurons & Nerves

  • neuron
    • axon
    • dendrite
    • cell body
    • myelin
    • oligodendrocytes
    • Schwann Cells
    • sensory neuron
    • interneuron
    • motoneuron
  • nerve
    • nerve sheath
    • sensory nerve
    • motor nerve
    • cranial nerves

Central Nervous System


Main Parts

  1. cerebrum
    • (cerebral cortex)
  2. cerebellum
  3. brainstem
    • medulla
    • pons
    • midbrain
    • thalamus

Main Areas (Each containing a part with a particular function)

  1. diencephalon
    • thalamus
    • hypothalamus
  2. mesencephalon
    • midbrain
  3. metencephalon
    • pons
    • cerebellum
  4. myelencephalon
    • medulla
  5. telencephalon
    • cerebral hemispheres
  6. rhinencephalon

Lobes of the Cerebral Cortex

  1. occipital
  2. parietal
  3. temporal
  4. frontal
Spinal Cord


dura mater


pia mater

subarachnoid space


nucleus pulposus

annulus fibrosus









Ventricular System
  • ventricles (4)
  • central canal
  • arachnoid space
  • arachnoid villi
  • venous sinuses
  • choroid plexus
Limbic System
Vestibular System
  • inner ear
  • vestibulocochlear nerve
  • brainstem
  • cerebellum

Peripheral Nervous System

motor nerves (efferent)

  1. somatic system
  2. autonomic system
    1. paraympathetic division
    2. sympathetic division

sensory nerves (afferent)

Anatomy Directions/Planes

Neurological Disease Terminology

The website’s glossary is a useful tool for understanding the different terms related to neurology. It is organized into 5 areas specific to veterinary neurology: Anatomy, Signs/Problems, Disorders/Diseases, Pharmaceuticals and Miscellaneous.

A knowledge of certain prefixes and suffixes is helpful in understanding the meaning of some general diseases related to neurology:

GENERAL DISEASES Process_ disease of: inflammation of tumor of: softening of:
Location: Prefix:  Suffix: -opathy -itis -oma -malacia
brain enceph- encephalopathy encephalitis encephalomalacia
spinal cord myel- myelopathy myelitis myelomalacia
nerve neur- neuropathy neuritis neuroma
meninges mening- meningitis meningioma
muscle myo- myopathy myositis
nerve root radicul- radiculopathy radiculitis
vertebra spondylo- spondylopathy spondylitis
bone osteo- osteopathy osteitis

The terms above describe general types of diseases because they don’t provide specific information about the cause of the disease process. Once the cause has been determined, the name may change. For example, the veterinarian may determine that a patient has inflammation of the meninges (i.e. meningitis). Once it has been determined that the meningitis is caused by an infection from the fungus, coccidiomycosis, the name will change to Cocci meningitis and the patient can be specifically treated for this disease process. Also, the suffix -us denotes an organism and -osis denotes a condition. Therefore, Cryptococcosis is an infection caused by the fungus Cryptococcus.

If multiple areas are being affected by a process, two or more prefixes can be combined. For example:
Meningomyelitis: inflammation of the meninges and spinal cord
Polyradiculoneuritis: inflammation of many (poly-) nerve roots and nerves

Classification of Neurological Disease

The specific neurological diseases mentioned in this website are organized into the following general categories based on the type of process causing the disease:
  • Degenerative
  • Congenital
  • Inflammatory (Infectious or Immune-Mediated)
  • Neoplastic
  • Toxic
  • Traumatic
  • Vascular
  • Metabolic
  • Nutritional
  • Idiopathic