Postural reaction testing assesses both proprioceptive and motor systems. Postural reaction deficits may be observed with disease in any part of the central or peripheral nervous system. At least two of the tests described below should be performed in each patient. I generally perform proprioceptive placing and hopping in all patients. Other postural reaction tests are performed in specific situations as described below. For each of these tests, an abnormal response suggests the lesion is located at the level of the limb (neuromuscular system, spinal cord intumescence) or cranially. Lesions in the forebrain and midbrain usually lead to contralateral postural reaction deficits, while lesions caudal to the midbrain will cause ipsilateral postural reaction deficits.
This test is frequently called “conscious proprioception” (a.k.a., CP) by many clinicians and board-certified neurologists, including myself out of habit and previous training, knowing full well that this is a misnomer. Dr. Alexander de Lahunta, arguably one of the greatest minds in veterinary neurology, argues that the term conscious proprioception should not be used since this test involves a great many central and peripheral components to be normal and does not truly test conscious recognition of the paw being turned over.