Cervical vertebral canal endoscopy in a horse with cervical vertebral stenotic myelopathy


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A 3-year-old Thoroughbred gelding presented with a history of neurological signs, including incoordination in his hindlimbs, of about 7 months' duration. On initial examination, the horse exhibited ataxia and paresis in all limbs with more severe deficits in the hindlimbs. Cervical radiographs displayed severe osteoarthritis of the articular processes between C5 and C6. On subsequent cervical myelography the dorsal contrast column was reduced by 90% at the level of the intervertebral space between C5 and C6. Cervical vertebral canal endoscopy, including epidural (epiduroscopy) and subarachnoid endoscopy (myeloscopy), was performed under general anaesthesia. A substantial narrowing of the subarachnoid space at the level between C6 and C7 was seen during myeloscopy, while no compression was apparent between C5 and C6. Epiduroscopy showed no abnormalities. After completion of the procedure, the horse was subjected to euthanasia and the cervical spinal cord submitted for histopathological examination. Severe myelin and axon degeneration of the white matter was diagnosed at the level of the intervertebral space between C6 and C7, with Wallerian degeneration cranially and caudally, indicating chronic spinal cord compression at this site. Myeloscopy was successfully used to identify the site of spinal cord compression in a horse with cervical vertebral stenotic myelopathy, while myelography results were misleading.