Case Description—A 2-year-old 14.9-kg (32.8-lb) neutered female Shetland Sheepdog was admitted to the University of Liverpool Small Animal Teaching Hospital for evaluation of acute collapse.
Clinical Findings—At admission, the dog was tachypneic and had reduced limb reflexes and muscle tone in all limbs consistent with diffuse lower motor neuron dysfunction. The dog was severely hypokalemic (1.7 mEq/L; reference range, 3.5 to 5.8 mEq/L). Clinical status of the dog deteriorated; there was muscle twitching, flaccid paralysis, and respiratory failure, which was considered a result of respiratory muscle weakness. Ventricular arrhythmias and severe acidemia (pH, 7.18; reference range, 7.35 to 7.45) developed. Intoxication was suspected, and plasma and urine samples submitted for barium analysis had barium concentrations comparable with those reported in humans with barium toxicosis. Analysis of barium concentrations in 5 control dogs supported the diagnosis of barium toxicosis in the dog.
Treatment and Outcome—Fluids and potassium supplementation were administered IV. The dog recovered rapidly. Electrolyte concentrations measured after recovery were consistently unremarkable. Quantification of plasma barium concentration 56 days after the presumed episode of intoxication revealed a large decrease; however, the plasma barium concentration remained elevated, compared with that in control dogs.
Clinical Relevance—To our knowledge, this case represented the first description of barium toxicosis in the veterinary literature. Barium toxicosis can cause life-threatening hypokalemia; however, prompt supportive treatment can yield excellent outcomes. Barium toxicosis is a rare but important differential diagnosis in animals with hypokalemia and appropriate clinical signs.
Objective—To evaluate effects of imaging plane, flexion and extension, patient weight, and observer on computed tomographic (CT) image measurements of the area of the lumbosacral (L7-S1) intervertebral foramen (LSIF) in dogs.
Sample—12 dog cadavers (2 were excluded because of foraminal stenosis).
Procedures—In each cadaver, sagittal, sagittal oblique, transverse oblique, and double oblique CT images were obtained at 3 zones (entrance, middle, and exit zones) of the region of the lateral lumbar spinal canal that comprises the LSIF while the lumbosacral junction (LSJ) was positioned in flexion or extension. Barium-impregnated polymethylmethacrylate was used to fill the intervertebral foramina to aid boundary detection. Measurements of interest were obtained.
Results—Among the dog cadavers, there was large variability in LSIF cross-sectional areas (range, 0.12 to 0.44 cm2; SD, 0.1 cm2) and in foraminal angles required to obtain a double oblique plane in LSJ extension (SD, 8° to 9°). For LSIF area measurements in standard sagittal CT images, interobserver variability was 23% to 44% and intraobserver variability was 4% to 5%. Sagittal oblique images obtained during LSJ extension yielded smaller mean LSIF areas (0.30 cm2), compared with findings in sagittal images (0.37 to 0.52 cm2). The exit and middle zone areas were smaller than the entrance zone area in sagittal images obtained during LSJ extension.
Conclusions and Clinical Relevance—Repeated measurements of the LSIF area in images obtained during LSJ extension may be unreliable as a result of interobserver variability and the effects of dog positioning and CT slice orientation.