Arachnoid cyst is a disease affecting the central nervous system whereby the arachnoid membrane surrounding the entire central nervous system (think spinal cord) does not develop properly.
As a result, cysts (defined as small hollow balloon-like structures filled with liquid secretions) are formed throughout various parts of the central nervous system, which can cause multiple symptoms depending upon their location.
Most pets suffering from this disease will likely go undiagnosed simply because most will remain asymptomatic due to the location of the “malformation” and therefore not exhibit any clinical signs of the disease. That’s the good news; the bad news is that for those few patients exhibiting symptoms of the disease, diagnosis and treatment tend to be difficult and very expensive!
Symptoms associated with arachnoid cysts in dogs.
Symptoms of this disease will generally be defined by where the cyst is located within the central nervous system. In cases where the cyst is located along the spinal cord, patients will like exhibit symptoms that will affect their movement leading to instances of:
- Ataxia, loss of complete control of their movement,
- Hypermetria, or extended gait/movement.
Whereas when the cyst is located within the brain (intracranial placement), patients will tend to suffer from symptoms such as:
- Loss of vision,
- Headaches or pain,
- Nausea or vomiting,
- Etc, etc…
Diagnosis of arachnoid cysts in dogs
As noted before, because many dogs suffering from arachnoid cysts won’t suffer from any symptoms of their condition, it’s fair to say that many of these same animals will also go undiagnosed simply due to the expense of making a definitive diagnosis.
You see, while it is possible to come make a “suspected diagnosis” based on incidental findings that are easily observable, to make a definitive diagnosis, your veterinarian will likely need to order some pretty expensive tests such as a magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) exam which may or may not be readily available in your area.
Treatment of arachnoid cysts in dogs.
Treating arachnoid cysts can be quite expensive in some instances, mainly if it necessitates the involvement of a neurosurgeon to perform a surgical procedure to lance or remove the problematic cyst in your dog. However, this option is only viable if the cyst is in a treatable area and does not pose significant risks to the patient.
In alternative scenarios where a complete cure is deemed too risky or costly, your veterinarian may propose treatments to manage the symptoms caused by the condition rather than curing it outright. In either case, one can easily imagine how having a pet with symptomatic arachnoid cysts can quickly become of the more expensive medical conditions to treat, mainly because it could require the services of a neurosurgeon.
Which brings us…
To the point of the article where we like to remind folks that we at IndulgeYourPet are not medical professionals and are certainly not veterinarians. We are all passionate about animals and want to help pet owners do what’s best for their loved ones.
This is why…
In addition to trying to shed light on some of the most common and costly medical conditions that could affect your loved one, we also try to recommend that any new prospective pet own take a moment and see what it would cost for you to purchase a pet insurance policy on your new family member. If your loved one does end up developing a condition like arachnoid cysts, you won’t have to burden the cost of paying for such an expensive medical condition on your own. Instead you’ll be able to share this cost with your insurance provider and not have to spend all your time wondering how you’ll pay for the care your loved one needs.!