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Spinal Cord Disease in Cats

Gonçalves R, Platt SR, Llabrés-Díaz FJ, et al. Clinical and magnetic resonance imaging findings in 92 cats with clinical signs of spinal cord disease. Journal of Feline Medicine & Surgery 2009;11:53-59.

Spinal cord disease is a diagnostic challenge in cats. As well, no antemortem studies on the relative frequency of the different etiologies responsible for feline spinal cord disease, such as lymphoma, feline infectious peritonitis, and intervertebral disc disease, exist in the literature. MRI is a noninvasive tool that represents the method of choice for imaging the spinal cord in human patients. The objectives of this study were to determine the frequency of an abnormal MRI in cats with clinical signs of spinal cord disease; to examine the relationship between the patient’s clinical characteristics and MRI findings; to identify potential predictors of a poor outcome and to investigate the outcome of cats with a normal MRI study. The authors reviewed the medical records of 92 cats with spinal cord disease that had undergone an MRI study. Seven diagnostic categories were determined on the basis of MRI and other findings: neoplastic (25 cats), inflammatory or infectious (13), traumatic (8), vascular (6), degenerative (5), anomalous (3), and those cats with a normal MRI study (32). The most important predictors of an abnormal MRI study were the presence of spinal pain and the severity of clinical signs. Of the 32 cats with a normal MRI study, only 9 died due to spinal disease. Of the 60 cats with abnormal MRI findings, 37 died due to their disease. [SL]
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