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Nutritional Disorders of the Peripheral Nerves and Neuromuscular Junction in Animals

By

William B. Thomas

, DVM, MS, DACVIM (Neurology), University of Tennessee

Last full review/revision May 2021 | Content last modified May 2021

Pantothenic Acid Deficiency in Animals

Pantothenic acid deficiency may develop in animals (particularly pigs) on rations of corn. Clinical signs include pelvic limb ataxia and a “goose-stepping” gait in which the stifle joints remain extended and the hips flex to lift the limbs off the ground. Histopathologic findings consist of degeneration of myelinated fibers in peripheral nerves and chromatolysis and loss of sensory neurons in spinal ganglia.

Riboflavin Deficiency in Chickens (Curled Toe Paralysis)

Riboflavin deficiency (curled toe paralysis) can develop if feed is not formulated properly. Affected chicks show poor growth, diarrhea, and weakness. There is inability to extend the hocks and progressive inward curling of the toes, so that chicks rest and walk on their hocks. Mortality is high by the third week. At necropsy, the peripheral nerves, especially the sciatic nerves, are swollen. Histopathologically, there is hypertrophy of Schwann cells, demyelination, and minimal axonal degeneration. Chickens often recover with riboflavin supplementation unless the curled-toe deformity is longstanding.

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Test your knowledge

Diseases of the Peripheral Nerves and Neuromuscular Junction
Laryngeal paralysis is a common disorder of older, large-breed dogs. Denervation of the cricoarytenoideus dorsalis muscle of the larynx causes the vocal folds and arytenoid cartilages to fail to abduct during inspiration, creating an upper airway obstruction. Although the etiology is usually unknown, trauma and neoplasia can cause laryngeal paralysis. Which of the following conditions can also cause laryngeal paralysis?
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