Objective—To develop an epiduroscopic technique for use in standing cattle and describe the endoscopically visible anatomic structures of the epidural space in the sacrococcygeal area.
Animals—6 healthy nonlactating, nonpregnant cows (mean ± SD age, 60 ± 18.5 months; mean weight, 599.7 ± 63.87 kg) and 3 bovine cadavers.
Procedures—Cadavers were used to allow familiarization with the equipment and refinement of the technique. Following these experiences, procedures were performed in live animals. Each cow was restrained in a stock. After sedation with xylazine (0.03 mg/kg, IV), 2% lidocaine hydrochloride (0.25 mg/kg) was injected epidurally in the first intercoccygeal or the sacrococcygeal intervertebral space. By use of an introducer set (guidewire and dilation trocar and shaft), a flexible endoscope (length, 75 cm; diameter, 2.3 mm) was inserted through the dilation shaft into the epidural space. To obtain an optimal view, small amounts of air were insufflated into the epidural space through the working channel of the endoscope via a syringe with special filter.
Results—Anatomic structures of the epidural space that were viewed by means of the endoscopic procedure included blood vessels, connective tissue, fat, nerves, and the spinal dura mater. No adverse events were detected during epiduroscopy, and it was tolerated well by all 6 cows.
Conclusions and Clinical Relevance—In ruminants, epidural structures can be viewed via endoscopy. Such epiduroscopic procedures may be useful in anatomic studies as well as for the diagnosis of disease or therapeutic interventions in ruminants.
Dr. Iff's present address is Division of Anesthesia, Department of Veterinary Clinical Science, University of Liverpool, Leahurst CH64 7TE, England.
The authors thank Hütter Andreas and Karl STORZ, Austria, for providing the endoscopic equipment.