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Each year many dogs are accidentally or purposely wounded with shotguns. When lead pellets were used exclusively in the past, clinical problems from chronically embedded shot seldom developed except for rare cases of lead toxicosis. However, because expended lead shot ingested unintentionally by waterfowl and other avian species is fatal, the US Fish and Wildlife Service mandated exclusive use of steel shot for waterfowl hunting beginning in 1991.

To discover the effects of implanted steel shot in a biological system, in vitro and in vivo studies were performed. Severe surface corrosion was evident when steel shot was placed in physiologic saline solution and sterile canine plasma. Eight laboratory dogs were surgically implanted with sterile steel shot in various superficial locations for intervals of 2 to 26 weeks. Corrosion of implants and tissue inflammation was observed in all biopsy specimens examined.

It has been shown that steel shot embedded in tissues will corrode and result in a severe inflammatory response. If the accompanying inflammation is complicated by bacterial contamination, foreign body reactions resulting in infected, draining tracts could develop. Veterinarians and dog owners should be aware that treatment and prognosis for wounds caused by steel shot may differ from those for similar wounds caused by lead shot.

Free access
in Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association
in Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association


To evaluate a laser ablation technique for treatment of thoracolumbar intervertebral disk disease in dogs.


Prospective case series.


33 dogs with signs of recurrent back pain associated with intervertebral disk disease after the initial episode had been managed conservatively for a minimum of 2 weeks.


Spinal needles were placed percutaneously through the annulus fibroses to permit delivery of an optical fiber into the nucleus pulposes of thoracolumbar intervertebral disks T10-11 through L3-4. Fluoroscopy was used to guide needle placement. Holmium yttrium aluminum garnet laser energy then was used to ablate the contents of each selected intervertebral disk. Intervals from time of treatment to time of assessment ranged from 3 to 114 weeks.


All dogs recovered without complication. Results of follow-up radiography and histologic evaluation indicated that percutaneous holmium yttrium aluminum garnet laser ablation reduces the volume of nucleus pulposus in treated disks.

Clinical Implications

Used as a clinical treatment and prophylactically, this minimally invasive procedure should prevent further extrusion of partially herniated disks and should reduce the chances of subsequent herniation of disks at other treatment sites. (J Am Vet Med Assoc 1996;208:1263–1267)

Free access
in Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association