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Below is information about the structure and function of the canine brain and spinal cord We will tell you about the general structure, how the brain and spinal cord works, common diseases, and common diagnostic tests performed to evaluate the brain and spinal cord in dogs.
The brain and the spinal cord comprise the central nervous system in a dog and other pets. The brain is the center for interpreting and integrating information from all over the body. The spinal cord acts as a conducting system to relay information from the brain to various areas of the body.
The brain is located within the bony cranium or the skull. The spinal cord is located within the spinal canal that runs through the vertebral column (neck and back bone), and extends from the base of the skull down the middle of the tail.
The brain is a mass of soft, pinkish gray nerve tissue divided into three major compartments: the brain stem, cerebrum and cerebellum.
The spinal cord is an elongated structure, more or less cylindrical, that is made up of the major bundle of nerve tracts that carry nerve impulses to and from the brain to the rest of the body. The spinal cord is connected to all areas of the body by nerves that leave and enter the spinal column through the gaps between the bony vertebrae.
Both the brain and the spinal cord are enclosed within the meninges, which consists of three tough membranes called the dura mater, arachnoid and pia mater. Cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) is produced within the brain in hollow channels called ventricles. This fluid surrounds the brain and spinal cord to protect them from injury. Both brain and spinal tissue can be subdivided into gray matter and white matter.
The brain governs various behaviors through learning, motivation and perception. It produces nerve impulses to make muscles move, to send signals to organs, and to control numerous automatic bodily functions. The brain also receives and registers sensory impulses, such as sight, sound, taste, touch, smell, and pain.
The spinal cord acts to coordinate movement and muscular activity. It also governs both automatic and voluntary reflexes, such as blinking, scratching, twitching the ears, and wagging the tail.
Brain disorders can be subdivided into congenital abnormalities, infections, inflammations, degenerative diseases, metabolic disorders, vascular conditions, tumors, traumatic injuries, nutritional disorders, toxic conditions, and diseases of unknown cause. Some examples of brain diseases that occur in dogs are listed below:
Spinal cord disorders generally cause dysfunction of one or more limbs and/or the tail. Spinal cord disorders may occur alone or in combination with disorders of the brain. Like brain disorders, spinal cord diseases can be subdivided into congenital abnormalities, infections, inflammations, degenerative diseases, vascular conditions, tumors, traumatic injuries, nutritional disorders, toxic conditions, and diseases of unknown cause. Some examples of spinal cord diseases that occur in dogs are listed below: