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Find information on animal health topics, written for the veterinary professional.

Tibial Paralysis in Cattle

By Paul R. Greenough, FRCVS, Professor Emeritus of Veterinary Surgery, Western College of Veterinary Medicine, University of Saskatchewan

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In tibial paralysis, there is paralysis of the extensors of the hock and flexors of the digits.

Etiology:

The tibial nerve is the caudal branch of the ischiatic nerve, which, in its proximal course, is well protected by the gluteal muscles. Distally, it progresses beneath the tendon of the gastrocnemius muscle and can be damaged when the tendon is traumatized.

Clinical Findings:

The hock joint is overflexed (dropped hock syndrome) and the fetlock is partially flexed. The gastrocnemius appears to be longer than normal and gives the impression that it or its tendon could be ruptured. The fetlock tends to be buckled, but the animal can walk and bear weight, although its attempts to do so are awkward. Compared with that seen in peroneal nerve injury, the gait disturbance is mild, but the postural disturbance could be permanent.

Treatment:

The use of anti-inflammatory drugs may be of value in the early stages. However, the primary efforts should be directed toward ensuring that the animal does not injure itself further, by maintaining it on surfaces with good footing.