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Sternotomy and ventral slot decompression for treatment of T1-2 intervertebral disk disease in a Dachshund

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  • 1 Dallas Veterinary Surgical Center, 4444 Trinity Mills Rd, Ste 203, Dallas, TX 75287.
  • | 2 Dallas Veterinary Surgical Center, 4444 Trinity Mills Rd, Ste 203, Dallas, TX 75287.

Abstract

CASE DESCRIPTION A 9-year-old 7.5-kg (16.5-lb) castrated male Dachshund was referred for emergency evaluation of pelvic limb paraplegia of < 24 hours' duration.

CLINICAL FINDINGS A spinal cord lesion between T3 and L3 was suspected given the dog's history and neurologic examination results. Computed tomography and myelography spanning T3 through L4 identified an extradural compressive lesion at the L3-4 disk space. Hemilaminectomy was performed, and disk material adhered to and compressing the spinal cord was identified. However, because the material appeared to have been present for an extended period, postoperative CT of the cervicothoracic region was performed, which revealed extrusion of disk material from the T1-2 space and marked spinal cord compression.

TREATMENT AND OUTCOME A sternotomy of the manubrium and ventral slot decompression of the T1-2 disk space were performed successfully without entering the thoracic cavity. A large amount of disk material was removed from the spinal canal. No loss of intrathoracic negative pressure was appreciated, and intraoperative complications included only mild hemorrhage. The dog maintained pelvic limb pain sensation postoperatively and regained motor function 2 days after surgery.

CLINICAL RELEVANCE Intervertebral disk disease is rare at T1-2 in Dachshunds. Typically, a dorsal approach has been used to decompress the spinal cord, but findings for this dog suggested that a ventral approach may also be appropriate. Consideration should be given to include the T1-2 disk space when performing advanced imaging in dogs because of the inconsistent ability to identify lesions at this location by means of neurologic examination.

Contributor Notes

Address correspondence to Dr. Cappelle (kcappelle@gmail.com).