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Neuroblastoma in the Spinal Cord of an Aberdeen Angus Heifer Calf
Slowly progressive hindlimb ataxia in a 5 month-old calf. Not too common, and the differentials include intoxication, nutritional deficites, hereditary diseases etc. etc. The diagnosis after doing a lot of diagnostic workup is a rare disease: a neuroblastoma in the spinal cord. A very interesting patient with a guarded prognosis.

A 5-month-old, female, Aberdeen Angus heifer presented to the veterinary medical teaching hospital for evaluation of slowly progressive hindlimb ataxia.

The calf was clinically normal until 4 months of age, following routine pregnancy and delivery. Neurologic examination revealed marked symmetric spastic hindlimb paraparesis.

Thoracolumbar radiographs and cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) analysis were unremarkable.

A presumptive diagnosis of T3-L3 myelopathy was made, and neurologic status remained static for 3 months with broad-spectrum antibiotic and nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory therapy.

Additional diagnostic tests were refused, and a necropsy was performed following euthanasia.

A moderately well delineated, reddish-tan, soft mass 18 mm in diameter replaced 80% of the fourth lumbar spinal cord segment.

Histologic examination revealed two distinct features: undifferentiated, primitive, polygonal-to-round cells with typical morphologic characteristics of primitive neuroectoderm; and interspersed areas containing myelinated axons and cells with neuronal differentiation.

Immunohistochemical examination confirmed the presence of primitive neuroepithelium and cells with neuronal differentiation.

Source: H. Steinberg, S. F. Peek and K. M. Nelson (2006): Neuroblastoma with Neuronal Differentiation in the Spinal Cord in an Aberdeen Angus Heifer Calf. In: Vet Pathol 43:193-197 (2006)



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