Vertebral Column and Spinal Cord Anatomy Demonstration
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What does the vertebral foramen for part of when the vertebrae are aligned into the vertebral column?
The vertebral canal
What attaches to the cranial and caudal endplates in life?
Annulosus fibrosis of intervertebral discs
What is the function of the dorsal and transverse spinous processes?
To increase the surface are of the vertebra to provide sites for muscle and ligament attachment
What is the function of articular facets?
They allow vertebrae to articulate with the vertebrae cranial and caudal to them, forming synovial joints between vertebrae. This forms the vertebral column.
What structure is located in the intervertebral disc space and what is/are its function/s?
The intervertebral disc - provides shock absorption and holds vertebral bodies together
What structure passes through the intervertebral foramen in life and in which species might this knowledge be of clinical use?
- Spinal nerves.
- Cows and sheep - performance of paravertebral anaesthesia to allow a lateral flank incision for operations such as cesarian sections.
What is the nature of movement that is possible at the joints between C1 and the skull, and C2 and C2? What is the functional significance of this arrangement?
- C1 and skull - dorsal and ventral movement i.e. 'yes' joint
- C1 and C2 - lateral rotation ie 'no' joint
- Allows wide range of motion between skill and vertebral column but spread this over a relatively large area so the spinal cord is not damaged
Why do the rest of the cervical vertebrae have short dorsal and transverse spinous processes?
To allow a large range of movement
Why do the thoracic vertebrae have long dorsal spinous processes and absent transverse ones?
- Long dorsal spinous processes - muscle attachment for forelimb and epaxial muscles
- Absent transverse spinous processes - allows articulation with ribs
Why do the lumbar vertebrae have long transverse processes?
To provide the origin for abdominal wall muscles and therefore support for the weight of abdominal contents
Why are the sacral vertebrae fused?
For efficient transfer of propulsive forces from the hindlimb to the vertebral column via the sacroiliac joint
Which areas of the vertebral column are associated with most movement and therefore most prone to damage?
Cervical and lumbar, especially the antlanto-occipital joint, thoracolumbar and lumbosacral junctions
Why is it useful clinically to be able to palpate the transverse processes of C1, dorsal spinous process of C2 and the lumber dorsal spinous processes?
As these are areas where you would sample CSF and are injection sites for contrast medium for a myelogram
What is the vertebral formula for the cow, pig, horse, dog and cat?
- Cow = C7 T13 L6 S5 Cd variable
- Pig = C7 T14-16 L6-7 S4 Cd variable
- Horse = C7 T18 L6 S5 Cd variable
- Dog and cat = C7 T13 L7 S3 Cd variable
What is the functional significance to humans of the horse having a longer thoracic region than other species?
It allows us to ride them
What is the functional significance of the larger species having long and broad transverse processes?
The presence of the rumen/hind gut fermentation means their abdominal contents are heavy so the abdominal wall attachments need to be strong
What are the defining features of the anticlinal vertebra and what is its function?
- It has a very short, vertical dorsal spinous process. Caudal to it all the other dorsal spinous processes are angled cranially.
- Function - prevents overcrowding of the dorsal spinous processes when the vertebral column is hyperextended.
Why do you need to know where the withers in the horse is located?
This is where you measure the height of a horse and so provides information for a legal document
What is the function of the nuchal ligament?
Passive support of the weight of the head
Why do you need to know the location of the nuchal ligament in the horse and why is it used for this purpose?
It is used as the area to insert microchips. If inserted in this ligament it will not migrate through the body.
How does the composition of the components of the intervertebral disc relate to their function and why does this result in the nucleus pulposus bulging following section?
The annulus fibrosus is composed of fibrous tissue. Its function is to hold the adjacent vertebral bodies together and contain the nucleus pulposus. The nucleus pulposus is a relatively fluid filled gel cushion gel under pressure and so functions as a shock absorber between adjacent vertebrae. Sectioning of the disc removes the restriction of the annulosus fibrosus, allowing the nucleus pulses to bulge.
What structures are important in preventing movement of the disc material and why?
The dorsal longitudinal ligament and intercapital ligament. The nucleus pulposus is located towards the dorsal aspect of the annulosus fibrosus so if there is movement or bulging of disc material then it occurs in a dorsal direction. Both of these ligaments cross the dorsal aspect of the disc space and blend with fibres of the annulosus fibrosus thereby helping stabilise the disc and preventing movement of material in a dorsal direction.
What is the potential consequence of protrusion/herniation of the disc material?
Compression of the spinal cord leading to neurological problems
Which regions of the vertebral column are most vulnerable to protrusion/herniation of the disc material and why?
Cervical, lumbar and thoracolumbar junction. These are the areas where most movement is possible.
Which regions of the vertebral column are least vulnerable to protrusion/herniation of the disc material and why?
T1-10 due to the presence of inter capital ligaments. Sacrum as it is fused and has no discs. Caudal/coccygeal region as the spinal cord is no longer present at this level.
What are the layers of tissue you would incise down through to enter the abdominal cavity?
Skin, fascia, tunica flava abdominus, muscle, peritoneum
How would you distinguish each of the muscle layers as you passed through it?
- EAO - caudoventral fibres
- IAO - cranioventral fibres
- TA - dorsventral fibres
Why is there enlargement of the spinal cord at the cranial and caudal intumescences?
There is greater white matter and cell body content due to the innervations of the thoracic and pelvic limbs
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