• cervical;
  • CSF;
  • equine;
  • horse;
  • ultrasound


Horses with intracranial lesions and severe ataxia are not good anesthesia candidates; however, only one method to obtain cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) from the cervical region in a standing horse has been reported. This method is not performed routinely due to the difficulty for sample acquisition. Our hypothesis is that standing cervical centesis can be performed in horses without complication. Ultrasound-guided centesis of the CSF between C1 and C2 in 11 clinically normal horses and two horses with neurologic signs were performed. Horses were sedated and ultrasound was used to identify the subarachnoid space and spinal cord between C1 and C2. With ultrasound guidance, a needle was introduced into the dorsal aspect of the subarachnoid space using a lateral approach. Ten milliliters of CSF was obtained and analyzed. Two normal horses in this study had moderate red blood cell contamination in the CSF (940 and 612 RBC/μl). One horse had 11 RBC/μl and the remaining horses had <4 RBC/μl. The total procedure time was approximately 2 min. No reaction was observed and no complications were detected up to 48 h after the procedure. Ultrasound-guided centesis between C1 and C2 is a rapid procedure that causes minimal to no reaction in standing, sedated horses used in this study. The use of ultrasound to guide a standing C1–2 centesis of the subarachnoid space provides an additional route to obtain CSF for analysis in the equine patient.