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Intervertebral Disk Disease in Cats

Harris, J. E. and S. Dhupa (2008). “Lumbosacral intervertebral disk disease in six cats.” J Am Anim Hosp Assoc 44(3): 109-15.

Intervertebral disk disease (IVDD) in the lumbosacral spine is a common problem in dogs, but little is known about IVDD in cats. Although disk degeneration and protrusion may be found at necropsy in cats, IVDD is not usually accompanied by recognizable clinical signs. This retrospective study was performed to evaluate clinical signs and surgical outcomes in six cats diagnosed with lumbosacral IVDD. Clinical signs included reluctance to jump, carrying the tail low, inappropriate elimination, reluctance to walk, pelvic-limb paresis, urinary incontinence, and constipation. With one exception, all cats had long-standing clinical histories and clinical signs attributable to lumbosacral disease. Each of the six cats underwent dorsal decompressive laminectomy at the L7 to S1 interspace. Postoperative clinical follow-up lasted 3 to 35 months, with most cats having excellent outcomes. The authors conclude that the incidence of lumbosacral IVDD in cats may be higher than previously recognized. Lumbosacral IVDD should be considered as a differential diagnosis in all cats having caudal lumbar pain or pain on tail hyperextension.
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Related articles:
Kathmann, I., S. Cizinauskas, et al. (2000). “Spontaneous lumbar intervertebral disc protrusion in cats: literature review and case presentations.” J Feline Med Surg 2(4): 207-12.
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Knipe, M., K. Vernau, et al. (2001). “Intervertebral disc extrusion in six cats.” J Fel Med Surg 3(3): 161-168.
>> PubMed abstract