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Tumors affecting the spinal cord of cats: 85 cases (1980–2005)

Katia Marioni-Henry DVM, PhD, DACVIM1, Thomas J. Van Winkle VMD, DACVP2, Sionagh H. Smith BVMS, PhD, DACVP3, and Charles H. Vite DVM, PhD, DACVIM4
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  • 1 Department of Small Animal Clinical Sciences, College of Veterinary Medicine, University of Tennessee, Knoxville, TN 37996.
  • | 2 Laboratory of Pathology and Toxicology, School of Veterinary Medicine, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, PA 19104.
  • | 3 Department of Comparative Medicine, College of Veterinary Medicine, University of Tennessee, Knoxville, TN 37996.
  • | 4 Department of Clinical Studies-Philadelphia, School of Veterinary Medicine, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, PA 19104.

Abstract

Objective—To determine the prevalence of lymphosarcoma and other tumors affecting the spinal cord of cats and to relate specific types of tumors with signalment, history, and clinical findings.

Design—Retrospective case series.

Animals—85 cats with tumors affecting the spinal cord.

Procedures—Medical records of cats with histologically confirmed primary or metastatic tumors of the spinal cord or tumors causing spinal cord disease by local extension from adjacent tissues examined between 1980 and 2005 were reviewed. Data on signalment; clinical history; results of neurologic examination, diagnostic imaging, and clinical pathologic evaluation; and location of tumor within the spinal cord were obtained from medical records and analyzed by use of logistic regression models.

Results—Lymphosarcoma was the most common tumor and affected the spinal cord in 33 (38.8%) cats, followed by osteosarcoma in 14 (16.5%) cats. Cats with lymphosarcoma were typically younger at initial examination, had a shorter duration of clinical signs, and had lesions in more regions of the CNS than did cats with other types of tumors. In 22 of 26 (84.6%) cats with lymphosarcoma, the tumor was also found in extraneural sites.

Conclusions and Clinical Relevance—Data for spinal cord tumors in this population of cats were analyzed by logistic regression analysis, which effectively distinguished cats with lymphosarcoma from cats with other types of tumors. Additional clinical information reported here will help to increase the index of suspicion or definitive antemortem diagnosis of spinal cord tumors of cats.

Contributor Notes

Dr. Smith's present address is Department of Veterinary Pathology, Royal (Dick) School of Veterinary Studies, University of Edinburgh, Easter Bush, Midlothian, Scotland, EH25 9RG, England.

Presented at the 19th Annual Symposium of the European Society of Veterinary Neurology, Barcelona, Spain, September 2006.

The authors thank Michael L. Newman and Theodore B. Henry for assistance with the statistical analyses.

Address correspondence to Dr. Marioni-Henry.