Diagnosis of cauda equina abnormalities by using electromyography, discography, and epidurography in dogs.

A. F. Sisson, Richard A Lecouteur, J. T. Ingram, R. D. Park, G. Child

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

42 Scopus citations


Electromyography (EMG), L7-S1 discography and epidurography were investigated in 15 dogs with clinical signs of cauda equina dysfunction and in 7 control dogs without such clinical signs. Electromyography of paraspinal and pelvic limb muscles was done in 13 of 15 affected dogs. An L7-S1 discogram followed by an epidurogram was performed in all 22 dogs using 20% iopamidol. Results of discograms, epidurograms, and gross necropsy examinations were normal in six of seven control dogs. The one dog in which these studies were abnormal had a mild L7-S1 disc protrusion that did not result in nerve root compression at necropsy. Electromyographic analysis was 100% accurate in predicting the presence or absence of cauda equina disease. None of the results of discograms were falsely negative. Twelve of 15 discograms in clinically affected dogs indicated dorsal disc protrusion, but 2 of these protrusions were found to be noncompressive at surgery (13% error). Abnormal epidurograms occurred in 9 of 15 clinically affected dogs. There was one false positive and two false negatives (20% error). Electromyography was a sensitive screening technique for the presence of cauda equina disease. Discography may be more sensitive for detection of L7-S1 disc protrusion than epidurography. An abnormal radiographic contrast study of the cauda equina may only be useful when combined with an abnormal EMG.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)253-263
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of veterinary internal medicine / American College of Veterinary Internal Medicine
Issue number5
StatePublished - Sep 1992
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • veterinary(all)


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