Radiographic diagnosis: focal spinal cord malacia in a cat

Sanders S, Bagley RS, Tucker RL, et al.

Vet Radiol Ultrasound 1999;40:122-125

A 16-month old Siamese, female, neutered cat was admitted for evaluation of acute left hemiparesis. Clini- cal signs began three days prior to referral. Ataxia was initially noticed immediately after the cat was seen playing with another cat. Clinically signs rapidly progressed over the next few hours wherein the cat could not stand. Voluntary movement in the left pelvic limb was minimal. The cat was treated by the referring veterinarian with intra- venous niethylprednisolone sodium succinate (30 mgkg initially) and every 6 hours (15 mg/kg subsequently) for 18 hours. On admission, physical exam was normal. The cat pref- erentially positioned itself in left lateral recumbency. On neurologic examination the cat had conscious propriocep- tion deficits in the left thoracic and pelvic limbs. The cat exhibited a painful response to palpation of the cervical vertebrae. Deep pain was present in all limbs. Spinal re- flexes in all limbs were normal. A crossed extensor reflex was present bilaterally in the pelvic limbs. The cranial nerves and cutaneous trunci reflex were normal. Based on these findings, a lesion of the C,-C5 spinal cord segments was suspected. The asymmetry suggested a left-sided le- sion. Blood was collected for a CBC, serum biochemical analyses, Toxoplasma gondii antibody titers, and feline in- fectious peritonitis viral protein detection. A slight lym- phopenia and increased ALT of 187 U/L (reference range, 13 to 75 U L ) were found on CBC and serum biochemi- cal analysis. All other serum biochemical indices were normal. Serum analyzed for Toxoplasma gondii anti- bodies were initially positive at 3:512 for IgM (negative for IgG). Polymerase chain reaction* for the FIP virus was negative.