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First accurate description of the rabbit´s lumbosacral spine cord
rabbit1136_723en.jpg Picture © Bayer Animal HealthCare
Every small animal practitioner knows that rabbits tend to develop problems with the spinal cord sometimes even resulting in vertebral fractures. Before this study, the exact anatomy of this important part of the rabbit´s spine was not completely cleared. 64 rabbits helped to get these new insights.

This study provides an accurate, anatomical description of the rabbit`s lumbosacral spinal cord.

Following humane euthanasia, 64 rabbits were radiographed and dissected. The number of thoracic (T) and lumbar (L) vertebrae was 12T/7L in 43.8%, 13T/6L in 32.8%, and 13T/7L in 23.4% in the 64 rabbits studied.

The 13th ribs were rudimentary, asymmetric, or both in 15 animals.

The spinal cord terminated within the second sacral vertebra (S2) in 79.3%, within the first sacral vertebra (S1) in 19.0%, and within the third sacral vertebra (S3) in 1.7% of the sample.

Spinal nerve contributions to the femoral, obturator, sciatic, and pudendal nerves were determined.

Formulas to predict the termination of the cord relative to the vertebral column were established.

Age, weight, sex, and method of preparation did not show a significant correlation with the length of the spinal cord.

Source: JB Greenaway, GD Partlow, NL Gonsholt, and KR Fisher (2001): Anatomy of the lumbosacral spinal cord in rabbits. In: Journal of the American Animal Hospital Association, Vol 37, Issue 1, 27-34




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