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SUMMARY

Objective

To determine effect of electrical muscle stimulation (EMS) on rate and degree of return to function of the limb and development of degenerative joint disease (DJD) after surgical creation and subsequent stabilization of the cranial cruciate ligament (CrCL)-deficient stifle.

Animals

12 clinically normal adult large (19.5 to 31.5 kg) dogs.

Procedure

Dogs were anesthetized, and the right CrCL was severed via arthrotomy, destabilizing the stifle. After 3 weeks, the stifle was surgically stabilized. Three weeks later, 6 dogs were subjected to an EMS treatment protocol for the thigh muscles. At 5, 9, 13, and 19 weeks after stifle destabilization, treated (n = 6) and control (n = 6) dogs were evaluated for return of stifle function. Gross and histologic evaluations of the stifles were performed at 19 weeks after stifle destabilization.

Results

Treated dogs had significantly (P = 0.001) better lameness score than did control dogs. There was less palpable crepitation of the stifle in treated dogs (P = 0.06); treated dogs also had significantly (P = 0.01) fewer radiographic signs of bone changes. Thigh circumference was significantly (P = 0.02) larger in treated dogs.There was less gross cartilage damage (P = 0.07) in the EMS-treated dogs, but more medial meniscal damage (P = 0.058, cranial pole; P = 0.051, caudal pole).

Conclusions

Improved lameness scores, larger thigh circumference, and decreased radiographically apparent bony changes observed for the treated group of dogs support the hypothesis that dogs treated by EMS after surgical stabilization of the CrCL-deficient stifle had improved limb function, with less DJD, than did dogs treated with the currently accepted clinical protocol of cage rest and slow return to normal activity. However, results of force plate evaluation did not support the hypothesis. Increased meniscal damage in dogs treated by EMS may be cause for concern. (Am J Vet Res 1997;58:1473–1478)

Free access
in American Journal of Veterinary Research

Abstract

Objective

To study biomechanical characteristics of the normal and surgically altered canine thoracolumbar vertebral column to determine the effects of surgery and trauma on lateral stability.

Animals

The T13-L1 vertebral motion units of 48 mixed-breed dogs were dissected free of surrounding musculature and prepared for biomechanical testing by cross-pinning the vertebral bodies and mounting in polymethylmethacrylate.

Procedure

Normal and surgically altered spinal specimens were subjected to lateral bending. The mean slope of the bending moment versus angular displacement curve and the load to failure were compared between treatment groups and significance was determined by the method of least squares (P < 0.05). Specimens were surgically altered by facetectomy, lateral fenestration, diskectomy, and combinations of these procedures. Each specimen was subjected to lateral bending to failure at a rate of 2.5 cm/min in a swing arm bending jig designed to simulate 4-point bending and subject the specimen to pure bending.

Results

Only specimens undergoing diskectomy had a significant decrease in slope and load at failure. Unilateral and bilateral facetectomies and fenestration induced a nonsignificant decrease in stiffness, compared with control specimens.

Conclusions

Fenestrations and facetectomies do not appear to increase the risk of injury to the canine thoracolumbar spinal cord during lateral bending.

Clinical Relevance

Fenestrations and facetectomies, as used in routine laminectomies, may be performed without concern for significant destabilization of the spine in lateral bending; however, it is possible that thoracolumbar spinal fractures involving only the vertebral body may significantly destabilize the spine in all modes of bending. (Am J Vet Res 1996;57:1228-1232)

Free access
in American Journal of Veterinary Research