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  • Author or Editor: Melissa J. Lewis x
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OBJECTIVE To develop a spasticity scale for dogs with chronic deficits following severe spinal cord injury (SCI) for use in clinical assessment and outcome measurement in clinical trials.

ANIMALS 20 chronically paralyzed dogs with a persistent lack of hind limb pain perception caused by an acute SCI at least 3 months previously.

PROCEDURES Spasticity was assessed in both hind limbs via tests of muscle tone, clonus, and flexor and extensor spasms adapted from human scales. Measurement of patellar clonus duration and flexor spasm duration and degree was feasible. These components were used to create a canine spasticity scale (CSS; overall score range, 0 to 18). Temporal variation for individual dogs and interrater reliability were evaluated. Gait was quantified with published gait scales, and CSS scores were compared with gait scores and clinical variables. Owners were questioned regarding spasticity observed at home.

RESULTS 20 dogs were enrolled: 18 with no apparent hind limb pain perception and 2 with blunted responses; 5 were ambulatory. Testing was well tolerated, and scores were repeatable between raters. Median overall CSS score was 7 (range, 3 to 11), and flexor spasms were the most prominent finding. Overall CSS score was not associated with age, SCI duration, lesion location, or owner-reported spasticity. Overall CSS score and flexor spasm duration were associated with gait scores.

CONCLUSIONS AND CLINICAL RELEVANCE The CSS could be used to quantify hind limb spasticity in dogs with chronic thoracolumbar SCI and might be a useful outcome measure. Flexor spasms may represent an integral part of stepping in dogs with severe SCI.

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in American Journal of Veterinary Research


Objective—To characterize the electroencephalogram (EEG) in young cats.

Animals—23 clinically normal cats.

Procedures—Cats were sedated with medetomidine hydrochloride and butorphanol tartrate at 2, 4, 6, 8, 12, 16, 20, and 24 weeks of age, and an EEG was recorded at each time point. Recordings were visually inspected for electrical continuity, interhemispheric synchrony, amplitude and frequency of background electrical activity, and frequency of transient activity. Computer-aided analysis was used to perform frequency spectral analysis and to calculate absolute and relative power of the background activity at each age.

Results—Electrical continuity was evident in cats ≥ 4 weeks old, and interhemispheric synchrony was evident in cats at all ages evaluated. Analysis of amplitude of background activity and absolute power revealed significant elevations in 6-week-old cats, compared with results for 2-, 20-, and 24-week-old cats. No association between age and relative power or frequency was identified. Transient activity, which consisted of sleep spindles and K complexes, was evident at all ages, but spike and spike-and-wave discharges were observed in cats at 2 weeks of age.

Conclusions and Clinical Relevance—Medetomidine and butorphanol were administered in accordance with a sedation protocol that allowed investigators to repeatedly obtain EEG data from cats. Age was an important consideration when interpreting EEG data. These data on EEG development in clinically normal cats may be used for comparison in future studies conducted to examine EEGs in young cats with diseases that affect the cerebral cortex.

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in American Journal of Veterinary Research