Presumptive acute non-compressive nucleus pulposus extrusion in 11 cats: clinical features, diagnostic imaging findings, treatment and outcome.J Feline Med Surg. 2017 01; 19(1):21-26.JF
Objectives The aim of the study was to describe the clinical features, diagnostic imaging findings, treatment and outcome in cats diagnosed with presumptive acute non-compressive nucleus pulposus extrusion. Methods Medical records and imaging studies of cats diagnosed with presumptive acute non-compressive nucleus pulposus extrusion were retrospectively reviewed. Information on long-term outcome was acquired from patient records and from either owners or referring veterinary surgeons via a telephone questionnaire. Results Eleven cats met the inclusion criteria. All cats had a peracute onset of clinical signs, with eight cats experiencing witnessed (n = 6) or suspected (n = 2) external trauma based on imaging findings. Neuroanatomical localisation included C1-C5 (n = 1), T3-L3 (n = 7) and L4-S3 (n = 3) spinal cord segments. MRI revealed acute non-compressive nucleus pulposus extrusions located at C3-C4 (n = 1), T12-T13 (n = 1), T13-L1 (n = 1), L1-L2 (n = 1), L3-L4 (n = 3), L4-L5 (n = 1) and L5-L6 intervertebral disc spaces (n = 3). Treatment included supportive care and 10 cats were discharged with a median hospitalisation time of 10 days (range 3-26 days). One cat was euthanased during hospitalisation owing to complications unrelated to neurological disease. All cats that presented as non-ambulatory regained an ambulatory status with the median time to ambulation of 17 days (range 6-21 days). Overall, the outcome for cats diagnosed with acute non-compressive nucleus pulposus extrusion was successful, with almost 90% returning to ambulation with urinary and faecal continence. Conclusions and relevance The majority of cats diagnosed with acute non-compressive nucleus pulposus extrusion had good outcomes. Acute non-compressive nucleus pulposus extrusion should be considered as a differential diagnosis for cats presenting with peracute onset of spinal cord dysfunction, particularly if there is a clinical history or evidence of trauma.