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Electrophysiologic evidence of polyneuropathy in a cat with signs of bilateral brachial plexus neuropathy

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  • 1 Department of Veterinary Medicine, University of Cambridge, Madingley Rd, Cambridge, CB3 0ES, England.
  • | 2 Department of Veterinary Medicine, University of Cambridge, Madingley Rd, Cambridge, CB3 0ES, England.
  • | 3 Department of Veterinary Medicine, University of Cambridge, Madingley Rd, Cambridge, CB3 0ES, England.
  • | 4 Department of Veterinary Medicine, University of Cambridge, Madingley Rd, Cambridge, CB3 0ES, England.

Abstract

Case Description—A 2-year-old spayed female domestic shorthair cat was examined because of bilateral thoracic limb weakness of acute onset.

Clinical Findings—Clinical signs included muscle atrophy, paresis, depressed spinal reflexes, hyperesthesia of the thoracic limbs, and reduced jaw muscle tone. Pelvic limb reflexes were normal. Results of a neurologic examination were suggestive of multifocal lesions involving both brachial plexuses and the trigeminal nerves. Abnormal nerve conduction across the brachial plexus and delayed late potentials were found on electrodiagnostic testing, and diffuse subclinical involvement of other regions of the peripheral nervous system was confirmed on the basis of abnormal electromyographic findings for the masticatory muscles and conduction block of the peroneal nerve.

Treatment and Outcome—No specific treatments were given, and neurologic signs resolved within a month. A relapse occurred 2 months after the first episode, with clinical signs affecting both the pelvic and the thoracic limbs on this occasion. Again, the condition resolved without specific treatment, and 13 months after the initial episode, the cat reportedly was normal.

Conclusions and Clinical Relevance—Findings suggested that brachial plexus neuropathy can be a multifocal disease in cats, even if clinically apparent neurologic deficits are initially subtle or absent, and that electrodiagnostic techniques can be used to identify subclinical involvement of the peripheral nerves.

Abstract

Case Description—A 2-year-old spayed female domestic shorthair cat was examined because of bilateral thoracic limb weakness of acute onset.

Clinical Findings—Clinical signs included muscle atrophy, paresis, depressed spinal reflexes, hyperesthesia of the thoracic limbs, and reduced jaw muscle tone. Pelvic limb reflexes were normal. Results of a neurologic examination were suggestive of multifocal lesions involving both brachial plexuses and the trigeminal nerves. Abnormal nerve conduction across the brachial plexus and delayed late potentials were found on electrodiagnostic testing, and diffuse subclinical involvement of other regions of the peripheral nervous system was confirmed on the basis of abnormal electromyographic findings for the masticatory muscles and conduction block of the peroneal nerve.

Treatment and Outcome—No specific treatments were given, and neurologic signs resolved within a month. A relapse occurred 2 months after the first episode, with clinical signs affecting both the pelvic and the thoracic limbs on this occasion. Again, the condition resolved without specific treatment, and 13 months after the initial episode, the cat reportedly was normal.

Conclusions and Clinical Relevance—Findings suggested that brachial plexus neuropathy can be a multifocal disease in cats, even if clinically apparent neurologic deficits are initially subtle or absent, and that electrodiagnostic techniques can be used to identify subclinical involvement of the peripheral nerves.

Contributor Notes

Supported in part by a grant from the RCVS Trust.

Address correspondence to Dr. Granger.