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Find information on animal health topics, written for the veterinary professional.

Principles of Therapy of the Nervous System in Horses

By William B. Thomas, DVM, MS, DACVIM (Neurology), Neurology and Neurosurgery, Department of Small Animal Clinical Sciences, University of Tennessee ; Daniela Bedenice, DVM, DACVIM, DACVECC, Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine, Tufts University

Once a diagnosis is made, appropriate therapy can be considered. There are several groups of drugs that are used to treat disorders of the nervous system. Drugs used to treat epileptic seizures are known as anticonvulsants. Anti-inflammatory medications, including corticosteroids, are used to reduce swelling and inflammation in many types of injuries. These medications may be given intravenously in some cases (such as spinal cord injury) and by mouth in others. Other medications may be needed to relieve muscle spasms caused by neurologic disorders or to treat infections of the nervous system.

After head surgery, and in animals with brain tumors or head injuries, there is a risk of swelling caused by an accumulation of fluid in the brain. Mannitol or corticosteroid medications can be given intravenously to reduce the swelling. (For a more detailed discussion, see Drugs Used to Treat Brain, Spinal Cord, and Nerve Disorders.)