General Sensory Examination

Introduction: General sensory examination, mainly check superficial sensation (skin sensation, mainly check pain and touch), and deep sensation (proprioception). Superficial paresthesia mainly manifests as increased (hyperesthesia), decreased or disappeared skin sensation, and paresthesia. Deep sensory disturbances often suggest damage to the brain or spinal cord.

1. Superficial Sensation

Superficial sensations include cutaneous touch, pain, temperature, and sensation to electrical stimulation. The animals are primarily examined for their pain and touch sensations.

During the examination, the animal should be secured by a feeding tube operator when the animal is in a quiet state. To avoid visual disturbance, the animal’s eyes were covered with a cloth, and needles or sharp objects were used to stimulate at different forces starting from the buttocks, gradually moving forward along the sides of the spine, until reaching the neck and head. Examination of the limbs starts from the lowest part, and circular stimulation is performed until the spine.

Superficial Sensory Examination
Description: Use needles or sharp objects with different strengths to start from the buttocks, and gradually stimulate forward along the sides of the spine until the neck and head. Examination of the limbs starts from the lowest part, doing circular stimulation to the spine

Contrast inspection or multiple inspections should be carried out if necessary. Pay attention to the animal’s response. When a healthy animal is acupunctured, the back hair of the corresponding part trembles, the skin or muscles contract, the ears are erected, the head is turned back, or the action of biting occurs.

(1) Increased skin sensation (hyperesthesia)

Increased skin sensation refers to a mild stimulus that causes a strong reaction. This is due to stimulation of sensory nerve conduction pathways. Seen in meningitis, dorsal root injury of the spinal cord, visual impairment, inflammation or compression of peripheral nerves, local tissue inflammation.

(2) Decreased skin sensation (hypoesthesia) or loss of sensation

Skin insensitivity or complete disappearance, weakened response to various stimuli or loss of sensation, or even complete loss of sensory ability when conscious. It indicates that sensory nerves and conduction pathways have destructive lesions, leading to the loss of the ability to transmit sensations, or the nerve function is in a state of inhibition.

  • Localized hypoesthesia or disappearance is due to the infringement of the peripheral sensory nerves that innervate this area;
  • Dysesthesia or disappearance of symmetry on both sides of the body, mostly due to transverse injury of the spinal cord (such as contusion, spinal fracture, compression and inflammation, etc.);
  • Loss of sensation on one side of the body, which is more common in damage to the conduction pathways of the medulla and cerebral cortex, resulting in loss of sensation in the contralateral limb;
  • Body multiple sensory loss, seen in multiple neuritis and some infectious diseases.

(3) Paresthesia

Paresthesia, which is caused by abnormal stimulation on the conduction path, is a spontaneously generated sensation, such as itching, burning, and sense of ant movement. Seen in rabies, neurodermatitis, urticaria, etc. Animals gnawed, scratched, and rubbed continuously, causing severe damage to some skins.

2. Deep sensation (proprioception)

Deep sensation refers to the sensation of muscles, joints, bones, tendons, and ligaments deep under the skin.

During the inspection, the natural postures of animals’ limbs should be artificially changed to observe their reactions. Healthy animals return to their original shape immediately after the external force is removed. If the deep sensory disturbance occurs, the artificial posture remains unchanged for a long time.

Profound sensory disturbance, suggesting damage to the brain or spinal cord. Such as chronic hydrocephalus, encephalitis, spinal cord injury, severe liver disease, etc.

Veterinary General Sensory Examination Knowledge Map

Description: General sensory examination, mainly check superficial sensation (skin sensation, mainly check pain and touch), and deep sensation (proprioception). Superficial paresthesia mainly manifests as increased (hyperesthesia), decreased or disappeared skin sensation, and paresthesia. Deep sensory disturbances often suggest damage to the brain or spinal cord.