Imaging and genetic investigations of neural tube defect in a calf: case report and review of the literature

J Vet Diagn Invest. 2019 Mar;31(2):228-234. doi: 10.1177/1040638718823037. Epub 2019 Jan 13.


A 15-d-old female crossbreed calf was referred because of paraplegia since birth. Clinical examination revealed a skin defect covered by hair on the dorsal midline in the thoracic area of the spine. Thoracolumbar spinal cord neuroanatomic localization was determined based on neurologic examination. Computed tomography of the thoracolumbar spine revealed incomplete fusion of the vertebral arches from T6 to T10 and duplication of the vertebral arch of T7. At the level of T6-T7, duplication of the spinal cord with 2 segments completely separated by a septum of hyperattenuating, probably cartilaginous, tissue was noted. Histologically, the spinal segments had different degrees of duplication. Three central canals were detected in one region. Genetic investigation for the presence of methylenetetrahydrofolate reductase (MTHFR) polymorphism, which has been investigated in both human and veterinary medicine as a possible cause of neural tube defects and abortion, was carried out and was negative in both the calf and her dam.

Keywords: Anomaly of nervous system; cattle; diastematomyelia; diplomyelia.

Publication types

  • Case Reports
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Cattle
  • Cattle Diseases / congenital*
  • Cattle Diseases / genetics
  • Cattle Diseases / pathology
  • Female
  • Genetic Predisposition to Disease
  • Neural Tube Defects / genetics
  • Neural Tube Defects / pathology
  • Neural Tube Defects / veterinary*
  • Pregnancy