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Am J Vet Res. 2008 Nov;69(11):1476-80. doi: 10.2460/ajvr.69.11.1476.

Somatosensory evoked potentials and sensory nerve conduction velocities in the thoracic limb of mallard ducks (Anas platyrhynchos).

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  • 1Veterinary Medical Teaching Hospital, University of California, Davis, CA 95616, USA.



To develop a clinically applicable technique for recording cord dorsum potentials (CDPs) following stimulation of the radial and ulnar nerves and establish reference values for radial and ulnar sensory nerve conduction velocities (SNCVs) in the wings of ducks.


8 clinically normal adult female mallard ducks (Anas platyrhynchos).


Radial and ulnar compound nerve action potentials (CNAPs) and CDPs were recorded following distal sensory nerve stimulation. The CDPs were recorded from the interarcuate space between the last cervical vertebra and the first thoracic vertebra. Surgical dissection and transection of the brachial plexus in 1 anesthetized duck were performed to identify nerve root location and confirm functional loss of nerve conduction assessed by loss of the CDP.


Radial and ulnar CNAPs and CDPs were consistently recorded in all birds. Median radial SNCV was 38.3 m/s (range, 36.0 to 49.0 m/s), and ulnar SNCV was 35.3 m/s (range, 28.0 to 40.0 m/s). Surgical transection of the brachial plexus resulted in complete loss of the CDP.


Measurement of radial and ulnar SNCV or CDP is feasible in isoflurane-anesthetized mallard ducks. The CDP accurately reflects sensory nerve conduction through the brachial plexus. Assessment of brachial plexus function in mallard ducks via evaluations of SNCVs and CDPs may have application for diagnosis of traumatic injuries to the brachial plexus, evaluation of neuropathies associated with exposure to toxic chemicals, and assessment of the efficacy of interventions such as brachial plexus nerve blockade.

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