Case Report

Cervical porcupine quill foreign body involving the spinal cord of a dog: A description of various imaging modality findings

Christelle le Roux, Frans J. Venter, Robert M. Kirberger
Journal of the South African Veterinary Association | Vol 88 | a1549 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/jsava.v88i0.1549 | © 2017 Christelle le Roux, Frans J. Venter, Robert M. Kirberger | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 19 June 2017 | Published: 08 December 2017

About the author(s)

Christelle le Roux, Department of Companion Animal Clinical Studies, University of Pretoria, South Africa
Frans J. Venter, Department of Companion Animal Clinical Studies, University of Pretoria, South Africa
Robert M. Kirberger, Department of Companion Animal Clinical Studies, University of Pretoria, South Africa


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Abstract

Although porcupine quill injuries are common in dogs, the detailed appearance of the quill on diagnostic ultrasound, computed tomography, and magnetic resonance imaging has not been sufficiently described. A 4-year-old, intact, female Jack Russel terrier presented with severe neck pain and ataxia after an altercation with a porcupine 2 weeks earlier. Radiology, diagnostic ultrasound, computed tomography and magnetic resonance imaging were all utilised to identify a quill imbedded in the cervical vertebral canal and cervical musculature and were compared to each other. Surgical removal of the quill, guided by imaging findings, led to the resolution of the clinical signs in the patient. Previous ultrasound imaging reports have just stated that the quill consists of paralell hyperechoic lines, and do not mention the finer hyperechoic lines inbetween and do not try to provide a reason for the appearance. Previous computed tomography (CT) reports just mention identifying the quill on CT images (whether or not CT could identify the fragments), but do not go into detail about the attenuating appearance of the quill nor try to relate this to the composition of the quill. This is to the authors’ knowledge the first report with detailed imaging descriptions of a case of cranial cervical vertebral canal porcupine quill foreign body in a dog. This is also the first report to allude to a possible difference in imaging findings related to quill structure because of keratin orientation and melanin content. The ideal imaging modality to use remains elusive, but ultrasound, computed tomography and magnetic resonance imaging could all identify the quill.

Keywords

cervical spine; computed tomography; Hystrix; magnetic resonance imaging; porcupine quill; ultrasound

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