Transient reflex depression in acute spinal injuries

31 December 2018 – News

The purpose of this prospective study was to investigate whether acute spinal injuries on the T3-L3 segment could result in temporary clinical signs of a multifocal or caudal injury.

These injuries could affect the segmental reflexes located caudally to the lesion, potentially causing them to be depressed or to shut down altogether. This could result in temporary clinical signs of spinal shock.

34 dogs were enrolled in the study, 30 with compressive intervertebral disk herniation, 1 with acute non-compressive nucleus pulposus extrusion and 3 with fibrocartilaginous embolism. Of these 34 animals, 9 had depressed pelvic limb reflexes: 2 had depressed patellar reflexes and 7 had depressed withdrawal reflexes.

Withdrawal reflexes returned to normal from 12 to 156 hours later, with a median of 60 hours. Despite its limitations, the results from this study seem to indicate that the transient depression of pelvic limb reflexes can occur in focal T3-L3 segment injuries and that this needs to be considered for diagnostic efforts and prognoses.

In Hodshon, A. W., & Thomas, W. B. (2018). Transient depression of pelvic limb reflexes in dogs with acute focal thoracolumbar myelopathy. Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association, 253