Spinal disease in rabbits is most often the result of trauma; however, other causes have been reported including congenital defects and degenerative spinal diseases. Diagnosis of spinal disease is based on history, physical and neurologic examination findings, and imaging. Fractures and luxations of the spine are often apparent on plain radiographs; however, myelography is used to determine if the lesion is causing spinal cord compression that may be amenable to surgical decompression. Unless intervertebral discs are mineralized, they are not visible when viewing plain radiographic images; therefore, myelography may be useful to diagnose spinal cord compression from a herniated disc. Myelography can also define lesions that do not result in a disruption of the osseous vertebral architecture such as tumors and granulomas. In rabbits, myelography is performed when the animal is under general anesthesia and in lateral recumbency. A nonionic iodinated contrast agent is injected into the subarachnoid space, usually at the level of the lumbar spine, to outline the spinal cord and identify cord compressive or disruptive lesions.
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