Citation Nr: 18154144
Decision Date: 11/29/18	Archive Date: 11/29/18

DOCKET NO. 17-23 257
DATE:	November 29, 2018
Entitlement to peripheral neuropathy of bilateral lower extremities is remanded.
The Veteran had active service from January 1970 to December 1973.  His period of service included duty in the Republic of Vietnam.
This matter comes before the Board of Veterans’ Appeals (Board) on appeal from a July 2016 rating decision of a Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) Regional Office (RO).
1. Entitlement to peripheral neuropathy of bilateral lower extremities is remanded.
VA’s duty to assist includes a duty to provide a medical examination or obtain a medical opinion where it is deemed necessary to make a decision on the claim. See 38 C.F.R. § 3.159 (c)(4); see also McLendon v. Nicholson, 20 Vet. App. 79 (2006). A layperson is competent to report on the onset and continuity of his current symptomatology. See Layno v. Brown, 6 Vet. App. 465, 470 (1994); 38 C.F.R. § 3.159 (a)(2). 
The Veteran has not yet been afforded a VA examination in this case. He should be afforded a VA examination to determine whether a causal relationship exists between service and his current bilateral peripheral neuropathy of the lower extremities, which includes consideration of his lay contentions as noted below. McLendon, 20 Vet. App. at 81.
The Veteran contends that he has peripheral neuropathy of the lower extremities that began during service in 1970.  Service treatment records note complaints of left thigh numbness in February 1970 that were attributed to the Veteran wearing a guard belt too tight.  
An October 2014 EMG/NCV found bilateral sensory polyneuropathy of the lower extremities.
A June 2016 peripheral nerves condition disability benefits questionnaire (DBQ) noted evidence of bilateral lower extremity peripheral neuropathy.  The chiropractor who completed the DBQ provided a statement dated in November 2018 that the Veteran’s “present condition of bilateral neuropathy originated from the February 1970 date.”  No rationale was provided for this opinion.
The matter is REMANDED for the following action:
Arrange for a VA examination to assess the nature and etiology of the claimed peripheral neuropathy of the bilateral lower extremities.  The entire claims file, including a complete copy of this remand, must be made available to the examiner. Any necessary testing should be conducted.
Following a review of the claims file and examination, the examiner should indicate whether the Veteran’s peripheral neuropathy of the lower extremities at least as likely as not (a 50 percent or greater probability) had clinical onset during military service or is otherwise related to service, to include the Veteran’s documented complaint of left leg numbness in 1970, and his presumed exposure to Agent Orange while serving in the Republic of Vietnam.
A fully-explained rationale for the opinion must be provided. If the requested opinion cannot be rendered without resorting to speculation, the examiner should clearly explain why that is so. 

Veterans Law Judge
Board of Veterans’ Appeals
ATTORNEY FOR THE BOARD	M. G. Mazzucchelli, Counsel

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