Fibrocartilaginous Embolism (FCE)

During medical interview you will probably hear about the dog playing in the yard(or performing other, more or less, exhausting activities) collapsed or became weak or paralized on his legs.

Symptoms are acute and deepen after 1-2 hours. You can see:

  • mono- /hemiparesis, sometimes tetraparesis (in this case oxygen therapy may be neccesary),
  • symptoms similar to those of Hansen syndrome or broken vertebrae,
  • DNR deficiencies in the leg,
  • neck pain in the first period,
  • in severe cases problems with respiration may be observed,
  • higher protein levels in CSF,
  • symptoms are often asymetric.

Why does it happen?

This embolism may come from different sources (endocarditis,sepsis and so on). The most common is hoveve fibrocartilaginous material,hence the name FCE. This material is  pathologically present in arteries and veins of spinal cord and causes focal points of necrosis and ishemia. The fibrocartilaginous material comes from herniated intervertebral discs.

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Clinical physiology: CANINE FALSE PREGNANCY

What is false pregnancy?

Everything looks like your dog is about to have puppies, but you know she doesn’t have an opportunity to breed? It is typical in many bitches which are  after heat period  ( 6-12 weaks past estrous). 

Why it occur?

In this state of estrous cycle. Progesteron levels begin to fall and in consequence prolactine levels are increasing. 
Prolactin is a hormone which influences milk production and maternal instinct. It is responsible for most symptoms of false pregnancy.


What are the symptoms?

  • swelling of the breasts due to hormonal changes are typical in normal cycle, but in dogs with false pregnancy lactation is observed. It is recommended not to express milk, because it may prolong this symptom!
  • increase of abdominal size,
  • nesting; 
  • mothering on toys,
  • in monst severe cases she may appear to go into labour.


Owners may use an Elizabethan (cone) collar and remove any inanimate puppy-substitutes that the bitch is hoarding to try and hasten resolution of the false pregnancy. In more severe cases, veterinarians may recommend removing food and water for 6-10 hours for several nights in a row to reduce lactation. Dieuretics and mild sedatives may also be prescribed to assist in this process. A dog going through a false pregnancy should not be spayed (ovariohysterectomy) until all signs of the condition have resolved. If the owner wants a litter from an affected animal, she probably should be bred on her next cycle.

If this does not help pharmacological treatment may be implemented. Drugs which are used are dopamine agonists and serotonine antagonists, because they suppres prolactine production. Progestogens ( f.e. androgenes) may be used but the symptoms often reoccur after drug withdrawing.

If symptoms linger for 2-3 weeks or longer it is good to make test of TRH level. If the level of TRH is increased the dog may have hypothiroidism. TRH stimulates prolactine secretion so when level of TRH rises, level of prolactine rises as well.

FP after ovariohysterectomy

False pregnancy may sometimes occur in spayed bitches because of retained ovary. The symptoms are more severe in this dogs than in non-spayed ones. If ovariohysterectomy was performed during false pregnancy, the symptoms of false pregnancy may linger for years so it is dissuaded to perform this operation during diestrous when FP may occur.

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SPINA BIFIDA - Meningomyelocele

This malformation is visible after birth. It occurs when vertebral foramen of few vertebres is not fully closed on it’s dorsal side. It is often confused with tachischisis -a malformation in which neural tube did not closed (myeloshisis) ! But we will discuss here only meningomyelocele. 
In this malformation meningocele and mielomeningocele is often present:

  • meningocele is a protrusion of meninges with the acumulation of CSF outside the vertebral canal beneth the skin,
  • meningomyelocele is a protrusion of meninges and associated nervous tissue outside the vertebral canal,

Protrusions adherent to the skin are where neuroectoderm failed to separate from other ectodermal structures. This herniations are visible outside the patient and where they are open the CSF may drain on the skin surface and cause ulcerations. 
Because the meninges are connected with the skin meningitis is an often complication od SB. 
In most cases caudal and sacral nerves are demaged or absent.
Spina bifida is accompanied by hydrocephalus. It may affect any part of the vertebral canal but is most common in L - S part of it.
Treatment is uneffective. There were efforts of surgical correction but with little success. Loss of bladder and rectal innervation makes recovery hard for that group of malformations. Leaking herniations may be also closed surgicaly.

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I live in the UK and went on Amazon today to look at cat trees for my two beautiful cats. While browsing I saw these and nearly fell off my chair!!!!


It’s to stop them scratching the furniture apparently. WHAT! If you…

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