Traumatic spinal cord injury caused by suspected hyperflexion of the atlantoaxial joint in a 10-year-old cat

Wessmann, A., McLaughlin, A. and Hammond, G. (2015) Traumatic spinal cord injury caused by suspected hyperflexion of the atlantoaxial joint in a 10-year-old cat. Journal of Feline Medicine and Surgery Open Reports, 1(1), 2055116915. (doi: 10.1177/2055116915589839) (PMID:28491364) (PMCID:PMC5362863)

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Abstract

Case summary: A 10-year-old cat presented 5 days after a traumatic event with acute recumbency followed by some clinical improvement. The neuroanatomical localisation was the C1–C5 spinal cord segments. Initial survey radiographs, including lateral flexed views, showed no convincing abnormalities. Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) revealed a marked focal intramedullary lesion at the level of the dens and suspected oedema extending over C2–C3 vertebrae, suggesting early syrinx formation. The cat made an initial excellent recovery on restricted exercise without medical treatment. The MRI changes largely resolved on follow-up MRI 4 weeks later yet recurred following a relapse 4 months later. At this stage, a post-traumatic syrinx had developed. Moreover, the suspected atlantoaxial instability was finally diagnosed on radiography with fully flexed lateral views. A hyperflexion injury causing tearing of the atlantoaxial ligaments was considered most likely given the lack of malformations or fractures. The cat made a full recovery on conservative management. Relevance and novel information: This is the first report of sequential MRI findings in a cat with atlantoaxial instability. Moreover, post-traumatic syringomyelia formation following atlantoaxial injury has not been reported. Sequential MRI aids in the diagnosis of hyperflexion injury if survey radiographs fail to identify atlantoaxial instability.

Item Type:Articles
Status:Published
Refereed:Yes
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:Wessmann, Dr Annette and Hammond, Dr Gawain
Authors: Wessmann, A., McLaughlin, A., and Hammond, G.
College/School:College of Medical Veterinary and Life Sciences > School of Veterinary Medicine
Journal Name:Journal of Feline Medicine and Surgery Open Reports
Publisher:SAGE Publications
ISSN:2055-1169
ISSN (Online):2055-1169
Copyright Holders:Copyright © 2015 The Authors
First Published:First published in Journal of Feline Medicine and Surgery Open Reports 1(1): 2055116915
Publisher Policy:Reproduced under a Creative Commons license

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