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Fecal incontinence associated with epidural spinal hematoma and intervertebral disk extrusion in a dog

Sofia Cerda-Gonzalez DVM1 and Natasha J. Olby VetMB, PhD, DACVIM2
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  • 1 Department of Clinical Sciences, College of Veterinary Medicine, North Carolina State University, Raleigh, NC 27606.
  • | 2 Department of Clinical Sciences, College of Veterinary Medicine, North Carolina State University, Raleigh, NC 27606.

Abstract

Case Description—A 7-year-old castrated male Great Dane was evaluated because of a 2-month history of fecal incontinence.

Clinical Findings—On the basis of the presence of paraparesis and apparently normal spinal reflexes, the neurologic signs were localized in the region of the third thoracic to the third lumbar spinal cord segments. On the basis of the findings of magnetic resonance imaging, a presumptive diagnosis of a compressive intervertebral disk extrusion with secondary hemorrhage and epidural hematoma formation was made.

Treatment and Outcome—A right-sided hemil-aminectomy was performed (centered at the T13-L1 intervertebral space) to further characterize the lesion and decompress the spinal cord. The histopathologic diagnosis was extruded intervertebral disk material with chronic hemorrhage and inflammation. Three weeks after surgery, there was complete resolution of the dog's fecal incontinence and moderate improvements in its hind limb function.

Clinical Relevance—Thoracolumbar spinal cord injuries can result in upper motor neuron fecal incontinence in ambulatory dogs. Epidural spinal hematomas may develop secondary to intervertebral disk herniations and cause spinal cord compression resulting in neurologic deficits.

Abstract

Case Description—A 7-year-old castrated male Great Dane was evaluated because of a 2-month history of fecal incontinence.

Clinical Findings—On the basis of the presence of paraparesis and apparently normal spinal reflexes, the neurologic signs were localized in the region of the third thoracic to the third lumbar spinal cord segments. On the basis of the findings of magnetic resonance imaging, a presumptive diagnosis of a compressive intervertebral disk extrusion with secondary hemorrhage and epidural hematoma formation was made.

Treatment and Outcome—A right-sided hemil-aminectomy was performed (centered at the T13-L1 intervertebral space) to further characterize the lesion and decompress the spinal cord. The histopathologic diagnosis was extruded intervertebral disk material with chronic hemorrhage and inflammation. Three weeks after surgery, there was complete resolution of the dog's fecal incontinence and moderate improvements in its hind limb function.

Clinical Relevance—Thoracolumbar spinal cord injuries can result in upper motor neuron fecal incontinence in ambulatory dogs. Epidural spinal hematomas may develop secondary to intervertebral disk herniations and cause spinal cord compression resulting in neurologic deficits.

Contributor Notes

Address correspondence to Dr. Cerda-Gonzalez.