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Extensive epidural haemorrhage in dogs with thoracolumbar disc extrusion
Disc extrusions are quite common in dogs, especially certain breeds, but in most cases they are not associated with severe haemorrhage. But which surgical technique should be recommended when the animals are suffering from thoracolumbar disc extrusion associated with extensive epidural haemorrhage (DEEH)? This report describes clinical features and outcome of 23 dogs with surgically confirmed DEEH which were treated with extensive hemilaminectomy (from three to seven vertebrae).

All cases were characterised by rapid progression to severe neurological dysfunction (grade III, V and VI).

Myelography was performed in 21 cases and showed an absence (16 cases) or attenuation (five cases) of contrast medium column along three to seven vertebrae.

In two dogs, magnetic resonance imaging was accurate in confirming extradural compression due to disc material and haemorrhage, determining the extent of compression and side of the lesion.

All cases were treated surgically with extensive hemilaminectomy involving all the compressed spinal segments.

Twenty-one dogs (91 per cent) recovered and regained ambulatory function.

Two dogs, without deep pain perception before surgery, did not improve.

A two-year follow-up history was available for 15 dogs. Disc extrusion recurred in two dogs (9 per cent), two and 20 months after surgery.

CLINICAL SIGNIFICANCE: Extensive hemilaminectomy can adequately decompress the spinal cord after DEEH and may produce a recovery and recurrence rate similar to thoracolumbar disc extrusion not complicated by extensive epidural haemorrhage.

Source: Tartarelli CL, Baroni M, Borghi M. (2005): Thoracolumbar disc extrusion associated with extensive epidural haemorrhage: a retrospective study of 23 dogs. In: J Small Anim Pract. 2005 Oct;46(10):485-90.





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