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Abstract

Case Description—A 7-month-old neutered male ferret was evaluated for episodic pelvic limb weakness of 2 weeks' duration.

Clinical Findings—Neurologic examination revealed flaccid tetraparesis with decreased spinal reflexes suggestive of a neuromuscular disease. Results of hematologic and CSF analyses, thoracic radiography, and abdominal ultrasonography were unremarkable. Electrodiagnostic testing revealed subtle spontaneous activity localized to pelvic limb interosseous muscles, unremarkable motor nerve conduction velocities, and lower than typical compound muscle action potential (CMAP) amplitude for tibial nerve stimulation only. A severe decremental response of the CMAP was detected with repetitive nerve stimulation (45.5% at the third ulnar nerve). An esophagogram revealed mild megaesophagus. Intravenous neostigmine methylsulfate administration resulted in immediate resolution of muscle weakness. Cross-reacting anti-acetylcholine receptor (AChR) antibodies were detected in serum (0.35 nmol/L) by use of a canine- and feline-specific muscle extract. Clinical signs and ancillary test results were diagnostic of acquired myasthenia gravis.

Treatment and Outcome—Pyridostigmine bromide was administered (1 mg/kg [0.45 mg/lb], PO, q 8 h), resulting in complete remission of clinical signs. However, 1 month after the diagnosis, the ferret was euthanized because of recurrence of weakness despite anticholinesterase treatment.

Clinical Relevance—To the authors' knowledge, this is the first report of acquired myasthenia gravis in a ferret and the first identification of anti-AChR antibodies in this species. Autoimmune myasthenia gravis should be considered in ferrets when weakness and flaccid paresis suggest a neuromuscular disease. Electrodiagnostic testing, anticholinesterase challenge, and AChR antibody titer determination were helpful for diagnosis of this condition.

Full access
in Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association

Abstract

OBJECTIVE

To describe and classify cervical muscle jerks associated with cervical pain or myelopathy and evaluate their clinical and diagnostic relevance.

ANIMALS

20 dogs with a history of unilateral or bilateral cervical jerks associated with cervical pain or myelopathy.

PROCEDURES

A retrospective study. Detailed history, complete clinical and neurological examinations, CT studies, and outcome were available for each dog. All dogs received a treatment adapted to each diagnosis. The presence or absence of jerks was evaluated at short- and long-term recheck examinations. An immediate postoperative CT scan was obtained for all cases that were treated surgically.

RESULTS

20 dogs were selected for the study, 13 of which were French Bulldogs. Jerks all presented as focal repetitive rhythmic contractions on the lateral aspect of the neck (on one or both sides). All dogs had a diagnosis of cervical intervertebral disk extrusion (IVDE), half of them at the C2-C3 level. No dogs presented with extrusion caudal to the C4-C5 intervertebral disk space. The prevalence of myoclonia among all dogs diagnosed with IVDE was 3.77% (20/530) in our hospital.

CLINICAL RELEVANCE

Cervical jerk associated with cervical pain or myelopathy may represent myoclonus and was exclusively secondary to cranial cervical IVDE in this study. Full recovery was observed following medical or surgical treatment of IVDE. The exact origin and classification of this involuntary movement has yet to be established.

Full access
in Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association