What are electrophysiology
Electrophysiologic techniques are used to measure muscle, nerve,
and brain electrical activity. Electrodes are usually placed
directly into the tissue of interest under anesthesia (e.g. muscle)
or into surrounding tissues (e.g. scalp when brain activity is
measured). Abnormalities in these studies help to better define
certain disease processes that are challenging to diagnose
Why do some pets need electrophysiology
Animals with problems associated with their muscles, peripheral
nerves, or brain may benefit from electrophysiology.
What techniques are available, when are
they used, and what do they tell us?
Electromyography (EMG) is helpful in
determining if muscle has lost its peripheral nerve supply or has
significant structural derangement. EMG often reveals abnormalities
in the case of inflammatory or degenerative muscle diseases and
conditions where there is loss of axons. EMG will also help guide
biopsy, if this is needed.
Nerve conduction velocity studies
(NCV) help veterinarians measure the speed of signaling
through peripheral nerves. Only certain disease processes affect
NCV and the presence of abnormalities will bring veterinarians
closer to determining a diagnosis.
Electroencephalography (EEG) is a
common technique used in humans with seizure disorders and other
brain problems to help define abnormalities. At Texas A&M we
use EEG to help in the critical management of actively seizuring
animals and in the diagnosis of seizure disorders that are
challenging to define. When your veterinarian is unsure whether
episodes your pet is experiencing are seizures, EEG can help.
Brainstem auditory evoked response
(BAER) is a study where click-type noises are delivered to
your dog through a pair of headphones. We measure the electrical
responses that result within the brain and can determine if there
are abnormalities in the auditory pathway. We currently DO NOT
perform BAER on litters of puppies, but will offer this service to
individual animals with specific concerns.
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