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Our board-certified veterinary neurologist, Allison Cowan, DVM, DACVIM (Neurology), provides today’s most advanced diagnostic testing and treatment for conditions affecting the brain, spinal cord, muscles, or nerves of companion animals. Some neurological diseases and disorders require surgery. Dr. Cowan can perform these surgeries should your referred patients need them.

Common conditions treated include:

  • Brain and spinal tumors
  • Congenital brain disease
  • Degenerative myelopathy
  • Encephalitis/meningitis
  • Head trauma
  • Intervertebral disc disease
  • Lumbosacral disease
  • Neuromuscular disease
  • Seizure disorders
  • Spinal cord injury
  • Vestibular disease

Allison Cowan, DVM

DACVIM (Neurology)

CASE STUDY: Zoe's Myositis

Patient: Zoe, 6-year-old female Hound Mix


Presenting complaint: Progressive stiffness, difficulty walking, and exercise intolerance


Referring DVM: Randolph Regional Veterinary Hospital (Dr. Taylor Hull)


Exam/Diagnosis: Zoe's general exam was unremarkable. On neurologic exam, she was ambulatory with a stilted, short-stride choppy gait affecting all four limbs. No ataxia was noted, but weakness culminating in collapse was observed after only short periods of ambulation. Generalized and marked non-painful muscle hypertrophy was observed. She was nonpainful on palpation of her spine and the orthopedic exam was unremarkable. Her exam neuro-localized to a generalized myopathy. 


Initial diagnostics included a complete blood count, chemistry profile, TT4, and CK level. Zoe's CK and AST were found to be significantly elevated, most consistent with an inflammatory myopathy (myositis). An infectious disease panel and muscle biopsies were submitted. The muscle biopsy confirmed an inflammatory and necrotizing myopathy with no infectious agents identified. Zoe's exam and diagnostic findings were consistent with suspected immune-mediated polymyositis. 

Patient before treatment exhibiting generalized muscle hypertrophy

Treatment: Immunosuppressive steroids were started immediately following diagnosis. Antibiotics were discontinued after a negative test for infection was attained. 


Outcome: Zoe was rechecked approximately 2 weeks after beginning steroids. Her symptoms had completely resolved, and her neurologic exam was normal. Zoe’s owner reported Zoe was happy and doing well at home. Her muscle enzymes were rechecked at that time and had normalized. Prednisone has been slowly tapered since that time with no recurrence. Zoe continues to do well at home.


As you know, a timely, accurate diagnosis is essential for effective treatment of neurological disorders. That’s why BEVS has invested in leading-edge diagnostic equipment and offers a full range of testing capabilities onsite, including MRI.

We appreciate the opportunity to partner with you in the care of your patients. Outpatient MRI services are available for pet patients through our Neurology Department. Give our team a call at 802.863.2387 or submit a referral form on our website.


Ultrasounds are available by appointment through the Internal Medicine Department, Monday through Friday. If an ultrasound is required sooner than we have appointment availability, your patient may be seen on an emergency basis through our ER Department.

Based on the pet’s symptoms, and severity, the Emergency Department may order an ultrasound through the Internal Medicine Department on a case-by-case basis. Contact us at 802.863.2387 for scheduling. 

A Truly Collaborative Approach

The best relationships successfully serve the interests of both partners. Our goal is to support you, your practice, and your patients in a manner that works well for all parties.

If you have any questions about our Internal Medicine services or would like to discuss a patient, please call us at 802.863.BEVS (2387). To help expedite the referral process, please fill out our Patient Referral Form online or visit our Referring Veterinary Portal. We are here to help in whatever way we can.

Burlington Emergency and Veterinary Specialists

1417 Marshall Avenue, Williston, VT 05495 | 802.863.2387 |


24/7 Emergency | Acupuncture | Dentistry | Exotics | Internal Medicine

Neurology | Radioiodine Therapy (I-131) | Rehabilitation | Surgery

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