Cauda equina syndrome
Cauda equina syndrome (hyperesthesia syndrome) is a degenerative lumbosacral stenosis resulting in cauda equina compression, commonly reported in German Shepherd dogs and other large breed dogs such as the Doberman.
This disease of dogs is commonly observed in middle-aged large-breed dogs and occurs when soft tissue and bony changes, possibly in conjunction with abnormal motion of the lumbosacral joint, impinge on the nerve roots or vasculature of the cauda equina.
Causes if this disease include degenerative disc disease, herniated lumbar discs (discospondylitis), synovial cystsspinal stenosis, spinal neoplasia, ischemic insults, arteriovenous malformations or fragments of the fractured bones.
The cauda equina nerve roots provide the sensory and motor innervation of most of the lower extremities, the pelvic floor and the sphincters. Therefore, in a fully developed cauda equina syndrome, multiple signs of sensory disorders may appear.
Affected dogs show an insidious development of urinary and fecal incontinence, hindlimb paresis and hemiparesis with ataxia, knuckling of hind paws and eventual paralysis.
Diagnosis is based on presenting clinical signs and is usually confirmatory on radiographic, CT or MRI imaging, with signs of vertebral compression and sometimes gas-filled lumbosacral disk space (vacuum disk phenomenon) and facet phenomena between the degenerated L5 - L6 dorsal articular facets.
In cases involving severe clinical signs, surgical intervention is usually required, such as hemilaminectomy.
- Enpe Vet
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