118.756 Canine and Feline Neurology (15 credit)

Lecturers: Christopher Mariani DVM PhD DACVIM(Neurology)
Chris Thomson BVSc(Hons) PhD DACVIM(Neurol) DipECVN

If you would like to develop your expertise in small animal neurology, Massey University’s Master of Veterinary Medicine (MVM) Canine and Feline Neurology course is a must.

The expertise of the lecturers, combined with videos and interactive material make this course the most practical and in-depth study of this area available today.

The course is designed to give you a thorough grounding in neuroanatomy and lesion localisation and advance your skills in the performance and interpretation of the neurological examination. You will then move onto cover key disease mechanisms, diagnostics and therapeutics utilising neuro case material covering a broad range of diseases. 

What will you learn?

On this course you’ll learn:

  • to confidently localize neurological lesions to the brain, spinal cord, and / or neuromuscular systems
  • a practical approach to the examination of small animal neurological patients
  • a practical approach to differential diagnosis and management of neurological patients.

How the course works

Neurology is one of the MVM courses  for postgraduate veterinarians which is taught online via distance learning and led by a recognised international expert in the field.

The course is supported by the latest research, reviews and case material to challenge veterinarians with in-depth, relevant continuing education. Course materials include a printed guide to your reading and assessment which integrates online learning activities such as discussions, quizzes, lessons, library searches, critical evaluation and exercises for self-assessment with reading materials and personal study tasks.

Highlights of the neurology course include: Numerous video cases that will help bring neuroanatomy and neurological diagnosis to life.

With the MVM programme you have the flexibility to study when and where you want and the support of the MVM team to gain an internationally-recognised veterinary qualification that will help you in your practice every day.

Your lecturers

Christine Thomson

Chris graduated from Melbourne in 1983 and entered small animal practice. She completed a residency in clinical neurology and neurosurgery at North Carolina State University College of Veterinary Medicine and undertook a PhD in myelin biology at Glasgow University. Since then she has worked in academia (Melbourne, Glasgow and Massey Universities) teaching general anatomy, neuroanatomy, and clinical neurology. She was the Academic Director for Continuing Professional Development for the New Zealand Veterinary Association (2012-2015). Her current position is as an Associate Professor of Veterinary Medicine, teaching neurobiology/neurology at the Department of Veterinary Medicine, University of Alaska, Fairbanks; she is also an affiliate faculty member at Colorado State University Veterinary School.  Chris’s research interests included myelin biology, neurobiology and neural cell culture.

Christopher Mariani

From Canada, Chris graduated from the Ontario Veterinary College at the University of Guelph in 1996. Following a small animal internship and a year in general practice he completed a residency in Neurology and Neurosurgery and undertook a PhD focused on immunotherapy for malignant gliomas. Chris is now an Associate Professor at North Carolina State University dividing his time between referral cases, research and teaching. His research interests include brain tumor diagnosis and therapy, inflammatory CNS disease, epilepsy and peripheral neuropathy.

Course features

In-depth part-time study 24 teaching weeks spread over 7-8 month period

Learning materials and facilities 

  • Study guide
  • Self-assessed activities
  • Electronic library access
  • 3-day contact/virtual workshop*

Learning community 

  • MVM Commons community site
  • Online case discussion  facilitated
  • Social forum


  • Portfolio of coursework (2 submissions)
  • Final written assignment

Course requirements

  • A computer with high speed (broadband) internet access is required for this course to enable you to access online video content.
  • Two compulsory textbooks:
    • Thomson C and Hahn C, Veterinary Neuroanatomy: A Clinical Approach. Saunders, 2012. ISBN:978 0 702034 82 4
    • Platt SR and Olby NJ (eds).BSAVA Manual of Canine and Feline Neurology, 4th edition. British Small Animal Veterinary Association, Cheltenham. ISBN: 978 1 905319 34 3
Note: You may wish to purchase a personal copy but while you are enrolled as a Massey student these texts are available online via the Library. 

Chris Mariani Chris Mariani

Chris Thomson

"I had such a cool case today, an 11–12 year old Labrador with fatigue on exercise. As soon I saw it walking, I recognized a lower motor neuron gait. Neither my colleague nor I had seen a myasthenia case before. Thanks to this course, I recognized the gait and got on the right track quickly."

"I have really enjoyed studying this paper. Your goal that I would not cringe but be excited when a wobbly dog came in has been achieved! I feel much more confident approaching these cases now."

"When I was a student, I knew my neuroanatomy well. However, I remember (even after 20 years) sitting in a lecture thinking 'I know neuroanatomy, and I know how to do a neurology exam, but I don’t know how to link the two up' … You have a wonderful ability to simplify a difficult subject: your ability to answer our discussion questions simply was great. Thank you!"

"I have just finished the neurology course, which was excellent and have even been able to answer some colleagues' questions on clinical problems already, which previously I would have just answered "I dunno!"  I recognise a great need to improve my professional development in lots of areas and think these courses are a great way to provide knowledge which can be applied in day-to-day work."

Contact/virtual workshop Information

*Due to COVID-19, contact workshops may have to be virtual. Please check your Stream site once enrolled for the current information or contact mvm@massey.ac.nz for the current information before you enrol.

The workshop is an opportunity for real-time interaction with your class and lecturer. Together you can build on the knowledge you’ve gained on the course through small group teaching, practical sessions and discussions of experiences in your own practice. 

For the best workshop experience, we recommend that you attend in real-time. While attendance is highly-recommended it is not compulsory in order to pass the course.

Mega 2 2021

In 2021 the contact workshop for Neurology will run alongside those for the Ophthalmology and Orthopedic surgery courses. This format provides a great opportunity for you to meet students and staff from other courses within the MVM programme and to combine with them for some sessions.


You will find more detailed information on the 118.756 Course Page. Enrolments open October 1st in the year prior to study.

For more information on delivery and course content please contact the MVM team.