Spina Bifida

Spina bifida is a group of congenital defects of closure of one or more vertebral arches, which may be associated with malformations of the spinal cord, nerve roots, congenital fibrous bands, lipomas, and congenital cysts The defect leads to motor and sensory problems in areas fed by affected nerves. Spina bifida may be present without clinical signs or associated with neurological defects, such as meningocele and meningomyelocele. The defect may occur at any level of the vertebral column, but is observed most often in the caudal lumbar or sacral spine. The open form can be classified as meningomyelocele, meningocele, hydrocerin meningomyelocele, and myeloschisis, whereas the closed form can be classified as spinal dermal sinus, tethered cord syndrome, diastomatomyelia, lumbosacral lipoma, neurenteric cyst, lipomeningomyelocele, and anterior meningocele.4 A meningocele or meningomyelocele may adhere to the skin producing a small dimple at the site of attachment. If the defect is open, spinal fluid may leak onto the skin and cause skin ulceration.

Spina bifida may be associated with myeloschisis, tethered spinal cord, and hydrocephalus. Urinary and fecal incontinence is the most common reason for initial examination for the affected dogs. There is a high incidence of spina bifida in the English Bulldog and Manx cats.

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  1. Ronald L. Burk, Daniel A. Feeney. Small Animal Radiology and Ultrasonography
  2. Richard H. Pitcairn D.V.M. and Susan Hubble Pitcairn. Dr. Pitcairn's Complete Guide to Natural Health for Dogs & Cats
  3. Giselle Hosgood, Johnny D. 'Hoskins, Jacqueline Davidson, Julie A. Smith. Small Animal Paediatric Medicine and Surgery
  4. The role of urodynamic studies in the diagnosis and treatment of patients with spina bifida

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