Motor deficits after spinal cord injury arise from damages to the descending spinal pathways and ventral motoneurons (VMN). In contrast to data on damages to the white matter or the descending spinal pathways, few quantitative data on damages to VMN after injury are available currently. The purpose of this study was to examine quantitatively the temporal and spatial pattern of VMN loss after spinal cord compression. Two groups of adult female Wistar rats were used in this study: rats which were subjected to spinal cord compression in short duration with an aneurysm clip (experimental group) and rats which were subjected to a sham-operation (control group). Using serial cross-sections of the spinal cord, VMN were counted up to the 7th day after surgical intervention at 0, 1, 2, and 3 mm rostral and caudal to the lesion epicenter (experimental group) or to the median of the serial sections (control group). At 15 minutes after the compression, VMN were lost only at the epicenter section and no VMN were observed there. By 8 hours, VMN loss had spread to next 1 mm rostral and caudal section to the epicenter. Virtually, no further loss was detected between 8 hours and later time points. This study showed that compression to the adult rat spinal cord in short duration led to VMN loss, which progressed acutely and expanded modestly. Our findings could be used to develop effective treatment and provide a better understanding of VMN loss after spinal cord injury.