Chapter 44 Diseases of the Nervous System
The anatomy of the nervous system in the snake and other reptiles is similar to that in mammals, with some differences. The reptile is the first vertebrate to have developed a cerebral cortex with two hemispheres, the spinal cord extends to the tip of the tail, and there is no cauda equina. There are locomotor centers within the spinal cord that give it functional autonomy from the brain. It is often difficult to assess the neurologic function of the snake; however, a history of movement difficulties (lack of ability to strike prey, head tilt, tremors) should alert one to the possibility of neurologic disease.
The exact cause of spinal osteopathy is unknown; however, it is believed to be related to exposure to a virus that affects mice fed as prey or to a virus of snakes spread by mice. Some think it may be due to a slowly developing neoplasia or to septicemia. Many suppositions can be found in the literature.