Ganglion cyst arising from the composite occipito-atlanto-axial joint cavity in a cat

Vet Comp Orthop Traumatol. 2014;27(4):319-23. doi: 10.3415/VCOT-13-10-0119. Epub 2014 Jul 3.


A four-year-old, female spayed Domestic Longhaired cat was referred for evaluation with a two month history of initial inability to jump progressing to ambulatory tetraparesis. Magnetic resonance imaging studies demonstrated a cystic lesion arising from the composite occipito-atlanto-axial joint cavity and extending to the region of the occipital bone and the axis. The lesion surrounded the spinal canal, causing moderate dorsal spinal cord compression at the atlanto-occipital joint. A dynamic myelographic study demonstrated attenuation of the dorsal contrast column at the atlanto-occipital joint when the cervical spine was positioned in extension. Partial excision of the cyst capsule by a ventral approach resulted in long-term (64 months) resolution of clinical signs. Histological evaluation was consistent with a ganglion cyst. An intra-spinal ganglion cyst arising from the composite occipito-atlanto-axial joint cavity may be considered as an uncommon differential diagnosis for cats with cervical myelopathy.

Keywords: Ganglion cyst; cat; composite occipito-atlanto-axial joint; spine; synovial cyst.

Publication types

  • Case Reports

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Atlanto-Axial Joint*
  • Atlanto-Occipital Joint*
  • Cat Diseases / diagnosis
  • Cat Diseases / pathology*
  • Cat Diseases / surgery
  • Cats
  • Female
  • Ganglion Cysts / diagnosis
  • Ganglion Cysts / pathology
  • Ganglion Cysts / surgery
  • Ganglion Cysts / veterinary*