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Outcomes of nonsurgical treatment for congenital thoracic vertebral body malformations in dogs: 13 cases (2009–2016)

Sophie Wyatt BVetMed1, Rita Gonçalves DVM, MVM2, Rodrigo Gutierrez-Quintana MVZ, MVM3, and Steven De Decker DVM, MVetMed, PhD4
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  • 1 Department of Veterinary Clinical Science and Services, Royal Veterinary College, University of London, North Mymms, Hatfield AL9 7TA, England.
  • | 2 Small Animal Teaching Hospital, School of Veterinary Science, University of Liverpool, Neston CH64 7TE, England.
  • | 3 School of Veterinary Medicine, College of Medical, Veterinary and Life Sciences, University of Glasgow, Glasgow G61 1QH, Scotland.
  • | 4 Department of Veterinary Clinical Science and Services, Royal Veterinary College, University of London, North Mymms, Hatfield AL9 7TA, England.

Abstract

OBJECTIVE To characterize outcomes following nonsurgical treatment of congenital thoracic vertebral body malformations causing neurologic deficits in dogs.

DESIGN Retrospective case series.

ANIMALS 13 client-owned dogs treated nonsurgically for congenital thoracic vertebral body malformations at 3 veterinary referral hospitals from June 2009 through May 2016.

PROCEDURES Data were extracted from the medical records regarding dog signalment, duration and type of clinical signs before referral, general physical and neurologic examination findings, radiographic and MRI findings, and treatments provided after diagnosis. Follow-up data were obtained from records of recheck examinations and via a standardized owner questionnaire.

RESULTS All included dogs were screw-tail brachycephalic breeds with a median age of 6 months. All dogs had ambulatory paraparesis and ataxia, and in 1 dog, signs of spinal hyperesthesia could be elicited. Nonsurgical treatments consisted of restricted exercise without (n = 5) or with (3) physiotherapy, physiotherapy without restricted exercise (3), and no exercise modification (2). Seven dogs received additional nonsurgical treatment consisting of prednisolone (n = 5) or gabapentin (2). Four dogs were eventually euthanized because of progressive neurologic deterioration, 2 underwent surgery for the same reason, and the remaining 7 dogs survived for ≥ 170 days after diagnosis, despite progressive neurologic deterioration.

CONCLUSIONS AND CLINICAL RELEVANCE Nonsurgical treatment of congenital thoracic vertebral body malformations was associated with an unfavorable outcome in this group of dogs. Despite this treatment, all dogs had progression of clinical signs.

Abstract

OBJECTIVE To characterize outcomes following nonsurgical treatment of congenital thoracic vertebral body malformations causing neurologic deficits in dogs.

DESIGN Retrospective case series.

ANIMALS 13 client-owned dogs treated nonsurgically for congenital thoracic vertebral body malformations at 3 veterinary referral hospitals from June 2009 through May 2016.

PROCEDURES Data were extracted from the medical records regarding dog signalment, duration and type of clinical signs before referral, general physical and neurologic examination findings, radiographic and MRI findings, and treatments provided after diagnosis. Follow-up data were obtained from records of recheck examinations and via a standardized owner questionnaire.

RESULTS All included dogs were screw-tail brachycephalic breeds with a median age of 6 months. All dogs had ambulatory paraparesis and ataxia, and in 1 dog, signs of spinal hyperesthesia could be elicited. Nonsurgical treatments consisted of restricted exercise without (n = 5) or with (3) physiotherapy, physiotherapy without restricted exercise (3), and no exercise modification (2). Seven dogs received additional nonsurgical treatment consisting of prednisolone (n = 5) or gabapentin (2). Four dogs were eventually euthanized because of progressive neurologic deterioration, 2 underwent surgery for the same reason, and the remaining 7 dogs survived for ≥ 170 days after diagnosis, despite progressive neurologic deterioration.

CONCLUSIONS AND CLINICAL RELEVANCE Nonsurgical treatment of congenital thoracic vertebral body malformations was associated with an unfavorable outcome in this group of dogs. Despite this treatment, all dogs had progression of clinical signs.

Supplementary Materials

    • Supplementary Appendix S1 (PDF 139 kb)

Contributor Notes

Address correspondence to Dr. Wyatt (swyatt@rvc.ac.uk).