Association of cerebrospinal fluid analysis findings with clinical signs and outcome in acute nonambulatory thoracolumbar disc disease in dogs

Itay Srugo, I. Aroch, Mary M Christopher, O. Chai, L. Goralnik, T. Bdolah-Abram, M. H. Shamir

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

19 Scopus citations


Background: Cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) pleocytosis recently was associated with the severity of neurologic signs in dogs with intervertebral disc disease (IVDD). Hypothesis/Objectives: To look for an association among CSF cell counts, total protein concentration, and severity of neurologic signs at presentation with outcome in dogs with acute thoracolumbar IVDD. Our hypothesis was that CSF total nucleated cell count (TNCC) and percentage cell types would be associated with the severity of spinal cord damage and therefore with both the presenting clinical signs and the prognosis of affected dogs. Animals: Fifty-four dogs with acute nonambulatory thoracolumbar IVDD were evaluated. Methods: Retrospective study. Signalment, neurologic grade, CSF TNCC, protein concentration, red blood cells count and differential cell percentages, and short- and long-term outcomes were evaluated. Results: CSF pleocytosis (>5cells/μL) was present in 54% of dogs and was positively associated with neurologic grade at presentation and with postoperative time to regaining ambulation. Neutrophils were observed most frequently. The percentage of CSF macrophages and macrophage to monocyte ratio were higher (P= .001, for both) in dogs presented without deep pain sensation (DPS) that did not regain ambulation. Receiver operator characteristics curve analysis yielded a cut-off point of 13% macrophages with a sensitivity and specificity of 100 and 83%, respectively, for prediction of a negative outcome. Conclusions and Clinical Importance: CSF pleocytosis is positively associated with the severity of spinal cord damage in dogs with thoracolumbar IVDD. The percentage of CSF macrophages can be used as a prognostic indicator for regaining ambulation in dogs that have lost DPS.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)846-855
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Veterinary Internal Medicine
Issue number4
StatePublished - Jul 2011



  • Canine
  • Intervertebral disc disease
  • Pleocytosis
  • Prognosis

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • veterinary(all)

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