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Fibrocartilaginous Embolism of the Spinal Cord Diagnosed by Characteristic Clinical Findings and Magnetic Resonance Imaging in 26 Dogs

Nakamoto Y., Ozawa T., Katakabe K., et al.

J Vet Med Sci, 2009. 71(2): p.171-6.

Fibrocartilaginous embolism (FCE) is a disorder of acute onset that presents with nonprogressive ataxia. We performed a retrospective examination of FCE of the spinal cord diagnosed by characteristic clinical findings and magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) in 26 dogs. In the present study, treatment consisting of physiotherapy alone, or this in combination with corticosteroid administration, was initiated immediately following diagnosis of FCE. Age at onset and the gender ratio in the present study closely correlated with those previously reported. In the present study, 88% of the dogs that developed FCE were small- to medium-sized, which is different from previously reported studies. There is a possibility that FCE also develops relatively frequently in small- to medium-sized dogs. No significant difference was observed between the physiotherapy alone and the physiotherapy and corticosteroids groups of dogs. FCE development has been reported predominantly at the vertebral levels C6-T2 and L4-S3 and less frequently at C1-5 and T3-L3. However, in the present study, FCE developed predominantly at T3-L3. FCE developed at T3-L3 or C1-5 in 69% of the cases in the present study, suggesting that there is relatively frequent development of FCE at these vertebral levels. The recovery time of T3-L3 was the shortest (10.2 +/- 7.4 days), and that of C1-5 was next-shortest (15.8 +/- 5.4) in this study. This suggested the possibility that the detection ratio of cases was low, because the symptoms in cases of FCE that has developed in C1-5 and T3-L3 would have improved before inspection in the secondary institution, where the MRI and diagnosis were performed.