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J Small Anim Pract. 2003 Feb;44(2):76-80.

Fibrocartilaginous embolism in 75 dogs: clinical findings and factors influencing the recovery rate.

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  • 1Department of Veterinary Clinical Sciences, University of Bologna, Via Tolara di Sopra 50, 40064 Ozzano Emilia, Bologna, Italy.


The records of 75 dogs with fibrocartilaginous embolism of the spinal cord were evaluated retrospectively. The diagnosis was confirmed histopathologically in 21 dogs (group A) and remained suspected in 54 patients (group B). The two groups were compared. Particular emphasis was placed on the description of physiotherapy procedures, recovery rates and prognostic criteria. Results demonstrated that fibrocartilaginous embolism affected mainly middle-aged, large- or giant-breed dogs. Clinical signs were peracute in onset, non-progressive and often asymmetric. Cerebrospinal fluid analysis was normal in the majority of dogs. Intramedullary swelling was the only abnormality detected on myelograms of these patients. A positive correlation was found between a poor prognosis and the involvement of intumescences, symmetrical clinical signs and decreased deep pain sensation. However, physio/hydrotherapy instituted immediately after the diagnostic work-up seemed to have a major influence on the recovery rate.

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