Lapis ISSN 2398-2969

Myelography

Contributor(s): David Perpinan, Vladimir Jekl

Introduction

  • Diseases of the spine and the spinal cord in rabbits are most often the result of trauma (fractures, subluxations and luxations), although congenital defects and degenerative spinal diseases have also been reported.
  • Myelography is used to determine if the lesion is causing spinal cord compression and must be performed after collecting a thorough history and performing physical examination, neurologic examination and plain radiographs.
  • Myelography is performed by injecting a contrast medium into the subarachnoid space to radiographically outline the spinal cord.

Uses

  • Determination of presence or absence of spinal cord compression in cases of trauma (fractures and luxations), congenital defects, degenerative spinal diseases, herniated disks, cysts, tumors and granulomas Spinal injury.
  • Myelography is commonly used to investigate clinical signs such as paresis or paralysis of the limbs, fecal/urinary incontinence, perineal dermatitis, altered gait, reluctance to climb stairs or exercise, or grooming difficulties.
  • A similar technique using the epidural space can be used to perform epidural anesthesia Anesthesia: regional/epidural.

Advantages

Disadvantages

  • More challenging technique in rabbits when compared to larger mammals.

Anatomy

  • Rabbits possess 7 cervical vertebrae, 12-13 thoracic vertebrae, 6-7 lumbar vertebrae, 4-6 sacral vertebrae and 16 caudal vertebrae. The most common arrangement is C7/Th12/L7/S4.
  • In most rabbits the spinal cord terminates at the level of the second sacral vertebrae, and nerve roots extend caudally as the cauda equina. 
  • The anatomy of the spinal cord in rabbits is similar to that found in other mammals.
  • The subarachnoid space containing cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) is the site of contrast deposition for myelography .
  • The epidural space containing fat and blood vessels is used for epidural anesthesia .

Requirements

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Preparation

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Procedure

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Aftercare

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Outcomes

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Further Reading

Publications

Refereed papers

  • Recent references from PubMed and VetMedResource.
  • Gasper J A D, Rylander H, Mans C et al (2014) Surgical management of vertebral synovial cysts in a rabbit (Oryctolagus cuniculus). J Am Vet Med Assoc 244 (7), 830-834 PubMed.
  • Whittington J & Bennet R A (2011) Clinical technique: Myelography in rabbits. J Exotic Pet Med 30 (3), 217-221 SciDirect
  • Chitty J (2007) Clinical techniques: The subarachnoidal space: Its clinical relevance in rabbits. J Exotic Pet Med 16 (3), 179-182 SciDirect.


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