Movement disorders in dogs and cats: internationally standardized designations defined

Experts in veterinary neurology have joined forces in an international working group to standardize the classification of movement disorders in dogs and cats. Previously used definitions from human medicine are insufficient for veterinary medicine.

laufender Hund im Wald
© Tadeusz Lakota,

Dogs and cats can suffer from different movement disorders. Despite many research activities, there is no uniform terminology in this new field in veterinary medicine so far. To standardize and clarify communication in research and practice, an international research team under the umbrella of the European College of Veterinary Neurology (ECVN) has now published a standardized terminology with definitions and explanations in the Journal of Veterinary Internal Medicine.

"Without standardized terminology and classification schemes tailored specifically for patients in veterinary medicine, it is difficult to compare the various movement disorders and to exchange information competently within veterinary medicine," explains Professor Holger Volk, PhD, head of the Clinic for Small Animals at the University of Veterinary Medicine Hannover (TiHo) and one of the initiators of the working group. In reports and studies on movement disorders in dogs, veterinary science has so far mostly resorted to terms from human medicine. Professor Dr. Andrea Tipold, Clinic for Small Animals and Associate Editor of the Journal of Veterinary Internal Medicine, adds: "Since movement disorders in humans and dogs have different pathophysiologies and triggers, the facts cannot be described accurately enough using terminology and classification schemes from human medicine. Humans and veterinary patients have different anatomy and correspondingly different joint motion. Consequently, the clinical presentation of movement disorders also differs." Professor Dr. Veronika Stein, President of the ECVN, praised the achievement of the working group: "With this excellent elaboration, we now have a uniform 'language' for neurological disorders. There could not have been a better topic to develop a consensus for the first time under the auspices of the ECVN."

The definitions are a first step. New research findings on movement disorders in dogs and cats can now be communicated on this basis and incorporated into therapy recommendations.

European College of Veterinary Neurology
The European College of Veterinary Neurology (ECVN) is a Europe-wide association of specialists in veterinary neurology. The ECVN offers a standardized postgraduate extremely demanding training, which concludes after a successful examination with the acquisition of the title Diplomate.

The original publication
International veterinary canine dyskinesia task force ECVN consensus statement: terminology and classification
Sofia Cerda-Gonzalez, Rebecca A. Packer, Laurent Garosi, Mark Lowrie, Paul J. J. Mandigers, Dennis P. O'Brien, Holger A. Volk
Journal of Veterinary Internal Medicine

Prof. Dr. Holger Volk
University of Veterinary Medicine Hannover
Clinic for Small Animals
Phone: +49 511 953-6202

Prof. Dr. Andrea Tipold
University of Veterinary Medicine Hannover
Clinic for Small Animals
Phone: +49 511 953-6411