Neurology

Research Abstract

N13 - Can Neuronavigation Aid in Pituitary Removal in Horses?

Thursday, June 14
2:15 PM - 2:30 PM
Location: WSCC 606/607

The purpose of this study was to surgically extract pituitary gland tissue from horses through a transcranial approach as a possible treatment option for pituitary pars intermedia dysfunction (PPID). PPID, also known as Cushing’s disease, is one the most common neuroendocrine diseases that affects aged horses. There is currently no surgical treatment for PPID and the treatment method of choice is with pergolide or cyproheptadine. The treatment of choice in humans and dogs for Cushing’s disease is to surgically remove the pituitary gland. We hypothesized that intracranial neurosurgery with the assistance of the neuronavigation would allow accurate extraction of the pituitary gland tissue from horses. This study consisted of 13 total cadaver horse heads chosen at random varying between the ages of 2-30 years old. Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) (N = 6) or computed tomography (CT) (N=7) was performed on each head followed by image registration with the neuronavigation and biopsy. Histopathological analysis was performed on all samples.  Pituitary gland tissue was found in 6 of the 13 samples (46%) submitted. The higher contrast resolution of MRI compared to CT provided improved accuracy for pinpointing and acquiring pituitary tissue. An automated tissue resection device system showed increased success for pituitary tissue harvest of 80% compared to a traditional blunt brain biopsy needle, which had a 46% success. The pituitary gland has a thick, fibrous capsule making the use of the blunt biopsy needle an inappropriate instrument for performing pituitary tissue removal.  Future studies will be aimed at utilizing cadavers and live horses with confirmed PPID to further ensure the safety and efficacy of this neuronavigation system.

Sarah M. Kappel, BS

Veterinary student
Colorado State University

I am a DVM student at Colorado State University (CSU). I am in the class of 2020. I graduated from CSU in 2016 with a Bachelor of Science degree in Animal Science. I was accepted into the Vet Start program in high school and entered the program in undergrad; this program selects students based on their merit and extracurriculars. This program is used to tailor students for veterinary school who show promise, interest and intelligence. In undergrad I was in a leadership program called Agricultural Ambassadors that allowed me to share my passion of agriculture by educating the public and talking to local senators about agricultural laws and regulations. I am currently the president of the Dental Club at CSU and help organize lectures and events. I am the student representative for Virbac and help plan different events along with introducing the products to students and faculty. I have worked at the CSU Veterinary Teaching Hospital for the past two years in the Critical Care Unit and in Urgent care. In my free time I like to photograph and have won numerous awards, including being published in the Audubon magazine. I photographed indigenous cultures with a national geographic photographer. So far I plan on tracking large animal and keeping an open mind. I am considering the possibilities of research or specializing.

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