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Case Description—An 11-year-old spayed female Siberian Husky was evaluated because of a 2-week history of progressive paraparesis.

Clinical Findings—Results of neurologic examination were consistent with a T3-L3 myelopathy. There were no abnormalities on CBC, and hypercalcemia was noted on serum biochemical analysis. Several hypoechoic splenic nodules were evident on abdominal ultrasonography, and results of fine-needle aspiration cytology were consistent with splenic extramedullary hematopoiesis (EMH). Two compressive, extradural masses in the dorsal epidural space of the thoracolumbar region of the spinal cord were seen on MRI images.

Treatment and Outcome—A dorsal laminectomy was performed to remove the extradural spinal masses. Results of histologic examination of tissue samples were consistent with EMH. Following surgery, clinical signs of paraparesis resolved, and there was no recurrence of the masses 24 months after surgery.

Clinical Relevance—Extramedullary hematopoesis should be considered as a differential diagnosis in dogs in which results of diagnostic imaging indicate a epidural mass. In human patients, spinal EMH usually occurs secondary to an underlying hematologic disease, but it can also occur spontaneously. Treatment options reported for humans include surgical decompression, radiation therapy, chemotherapy, and blood transfusion. The dog of this report responded favorably to surgical decompression and was clinically normal 2 years after surgery.

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in Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association


Objective—To evaluate safety and efficacy of vagal nerve stimulation in dogs with refractory epilepsy.

Design—Placebo-controlled, double-masked, crossover study.

Animals—10 dogs with poorly controlled seizures.

Procedure—A programmable pacemaker-like device designed to deliver intermittent stimulation to the left cervical trunk of the vagus was surgically implanted in each dog. Dogs were assigned randomly to two 13- week test periods, 1 with nerve stimulation and 1 without nerve stimulation. Owners recorded data on seizure frequency, duration, and intensity, as well as adverse effects.

Results—No significant difference in seizure frequency, duration, or severity was detected between overall 13-week treatment and control periods. During the final 4 weeks of the treatment period, a significant decrease in mean seizure frequency (34.4%) was detected, compared with the control period. Complications included transient bradycardia, asystole, and apnea during intraoperative device testing, and seroma formation, subcutaneous migration of the generator, and transient Horner's syndrome during the 14-day period between surgery and suture removal. No adverse effects of stimulation were detected, and most owners were satisfied with the treatment.

Conclusions and Clinical Relevance—Vagal nerve stimulation is a potentially safe approach to seizure control that appears to be efficacious in certain dogs and should be considered a possible treatment option when antiepileptic medications are ineffective. (J Am Vet Med Assoc 2002;221:977–983)

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in Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association


Objective—To develop and compare the reliability of 2 methods of scoring pelvic limb gait in dogs recovering from thoracolumbar spinal cord injuries and to use this scoring system to determine the rate and level of functional recovery of dogs with acute thoracolumbar intervertebral disk herniations.

Animals—46 dogs with spinal cord injuries resulting from intervertebral disk herniations.

Procedure—Dogs' gaits were videotaped at different time intervals after injury. In phase 1 of the study, the stages of recovery of pelvic limb function were identified, and a numeric scoring system was devised to reflect that recovery. In phase 2, pelvic limb gait was scored by different observers, using a numeric and a visual analog scale. Intra- and interobserver coefficients of variability of both methods were compared. In phase 3, pelvic limb function was scored, using the numeric scale at various intervals after acute thoracolumbar disk herniations.

Results—The numeric scale was significantly more reliable than the visual analog scale when both intraand interobserver coefficients of variability were evaluated. Dogs that were paraplegic with no deep pain sensation recovered at different rates during the first 3 months, whereas dogs that were paraplegic with deep pain sensation typically recovered within 1 month of injury.

Conclusion and Clinical Relevance—Pelvic limb gait of dogs recovering from thoracolumbar spinal cord injuries can be reliably quantified, using a numeric scale. This scale will facilitate the performance of clinical trials aimed at improving the outcome of acute spinal cord injuries. (Am J Vet Res 2001;62:1624–1628)

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in American Journal of Veterinary Research