Bovis ISSN 2398-2993

Peroneal paralysis

Contributor(s): Nick Bell, Sophie Mahendran , Roger Blowey

Introduction

  • Cause: pressure or trauma to the lateral stifle, often following prolonged recumbency.
  • Signs: dropped tarsus and flexed fetlock during weight-bearing.
  • Diagnosis: knuckling locomotion following a history of recumbency or trauma, with nerve field impairment.
  • Treatment: straw yard or soft pasture rest and NSAIDs.
  • Prognosis: good to poor depending on extent of damage and severity of clinical signs.

Pathogenesis

Etiology

  • From recumbency such as during anesthesia or down-cow syndrome.
  • From blunt trauma to the lateral stifle
  • Secondary to a tibial fracture or fractures of the lateral condyle of the femur (although these cows will be very lame).

Pathophysiology

  • The peroneal nerve is a distal branch of the sciatic nerve, and derives mainly from L6 and S1 spinal segments.
    • It passes superficially across the lateral surface of the lateral head of the gastrocnemius, making it susceptible to pressure injury.
    • Provides motor function to the flexors of the tarsus, and extensors of the foot.
  • Paralysis of the peroneal branch results in extension of the tarsus and flexion of the fetlock and interphalangeal joints.
    • Overextension of the hock and knuckling of the fetlock
    • In extreme cases the of paralysis, the dorsal hoof wall rests on the ground.
  • Atrophy of the cranial lateral muscles of the gaskin may be expected.
  • Injury to this nerve is a component of sciatic injury.

Timecourse

  • Injury from trauma or from lateral recumbency will lead to transient signs that will eventually improve.

Diagnosis

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Treatment

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Prevention

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Outcomes

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Further Reading

Publications

Refereed Papers

  • Recent references from PubMed and VetMedResource.
  • Hartnack A K (2017) Spinal cord and peripheral nerve abnormalities of the ruminant. Veterinary clinics of North America: food animal practice 33 (1), 101–10 PubMed.
  • Constable P D (2004) Clinical examination of the ruminant nervous system. Veterinary clinics of North America: food animal practice 20 (2), 185–214 PubMed.
  • Divers T J (2004) Acquired spinal cord and peripheral nerve disease. Veterinary clinics of North America: food animal practice 20 (2), 231–42 PubMed.

Other sources of information

  • Lahunta A & Divers T J (2008) Neurologic Diseases. In: Rebhun’s diseases of dairy cattle. 2nd edn. Saint Louis: W.B. Saunders. pp 504–60.


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