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  • Author or Editor: Sara Canal x
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OBJECTIVE To determine the incidence of and risk factors for development of postoperative diskospondylitis (POD) in dogs that underwent spinal decompression surgery for intervertebral disk herniation (IVDH).

DESIGN Retrospective single cohort study.

ANIMALS 372 dogs that underwent spinal decompression surgery for IVDH between January 2007 and January 2011.

PROCEDURES Medical records of dogs were retrospectively reviewed. Data regarding signalment, type and anatomic site of IVDH, severity of neurologic signs, type of surgery, duration of anesthesia, esophageal temperature during surgery, and use of corticosteroid drugs were analyzed for associations with POD.

RESULTS POD developed in 8 of 372 (2.2%) dogs. Univariate analysis revealed that German Shepherd Dogs had 9.8 times the odds of POD, compared with the odds for other breeds. In addition, dogs > 8.8 years of age, weighing > 20 kg (44 lb), or having disk protrusions were at higher risk of developing POD than were other dogs. The only factor that retained a significant association with POD after controlling for other factors in multivariate analysis was body weight > 20 kg.

CONCLUSIONS AND CLINICAL RELEVANCE Factors identified in this study may be useful for prediction of POD, an apparently uncommon outcome, in dogs undergoing spinal decompression surgery for IVDH. Dogs at higher risk than others, particularly those weighing > 20 kg, should be monitored carefully in the immediate postoperative period, and signs of worsening neurologic condition after initial improvement should be promptly investigated.

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in Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association