Assessment of the cutaneous trunci reflex in neurologically healthy cats

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Objectives: The aim of this study was to perform the cutaneous trunci reflex (CTR) in neurologically normal cats using two different instruments and determine how body condition score (BCS), body circumference, age, sex and instrument type may affect this reflex. Methods: Sixty-five cats without evidence of neurologic disease were prospectively enrolled. Cats were randomly assigned to have the reflex tested first using a pair of hemostatic forceps or the integrated Babinski tip of an MDF Babinski Buck Reflex Hammer. After 30 mins, the reflex was retested using the other instrument. Data collected included the reflex presence, reflex caudal border, reflex intensity (weak, moderate, strong) and reflex symmetry (unilateral or bilateral). The influence of BCS, body circumference, age and sex on these variables was statistically evaluated along with effect of the instrument used. Results: The CTR was elicited bilaterally in 52 (80%) cats and unilaterally in 64 (98%) cats. In two cats, the CTR was only able to be elicited using the Buck Reflex Hammer, while in four cats, the CTR was only able to be elicited using hemostatic forceps. Body circumference, BCS, age and sex had no effect on the presence, caudal border, intensity or symmetry of the CTR, regardless of the instrument used. No difference in the bilateral presence of the CTR was noted based on the instrument used first (P = 0.53). When assessing the influence of the instrument on reflex presence, caudal border, intensity and symmetry, the hemostatic forceps elicited the reflex further caudally (P = 0.02) and usually bilaterally (P = 0.02). Conclusions and relevance: The CTR could be elicited in the majority of cats with both instruments. However, hemostatic forceps elicited a reflex more caudally and bilaterally symmetrical than the Buck Reflex Hammer.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)287-292
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of Feline Medicine and Surgery
Issue number4
StatePublished - Apr 2021


  • Myelopathy
  • cutaneous trunci
  • motor neurons
  • panniculus reflex
  • spinal cord

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Small Animals


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