Clinical Exposures: Vertebral articular process hypertrophy causing spinal cord compression in a Great Dane
May 01, 2007
A 6-year-old castrated male Great Dane was presented to the Cornell University Hospital for Animals for evaluation of pelvic limb ataxia and intermittent fecal incontinence. The owner reported that the ataxia had first been noticed when the dog was about 1.5 years old and had slowly progressed. Fecal incontinence had been present for about two months. The owner noted that, in addition to defecating normally, about every two days the dog had accidents in the house during which it appeared unaware that it was defecating.
The patient had been evaluated at another hospital about seven months previously for the pelvic limb ataxia. At that time, caudal cervical spondylomyelopathy had been suspected and magnetic resonance imaging had been performed, which revealed no evidence of caudal cervical spondylomyelopathy. Cerebrospinal fluid analysis had also been performed at that time, which revealed no abnormalities.
EXAMINATIONS AND DIAGNOSTIC TESTSOn presentation, the dog was quiet, alert, and responsive. The only abnormality identified on physical examination was hyperemia and nail wear of the fifth digit of both pelvic limbs. No abnormalities were identified on rectal examination.
The dog exhibited moderate pelvic limb general proprioceptive ataxia when walking. A neurologic examination revealed bilateral crossed extensor reflexes and upper motor neuron paresis in the pelvic limbs and decreased proprioceptive positioning reactions in both pelvic limbs. The patient ambulated well with the pelvic limbs but was moderately ataxic and occasionally scuffed the dorsum of the toes on either limb. Spinal reflexes (with the exception of the crossed extensor reflex) and muscle tone were normal in both pelvic limbs. The thoracic limbs were normal, as was the perineal reflex.