Surgical treatment of cervical stenotic myelopathy in horses: 73 cases (1983-1992)

Bonnie Rush Moore From the Department of Veterinary Clinical Sciences, College of Veterinary Medicine, The Ohio State University, 601 Vernon L. Tharp St, Columbus, OH 43210.

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Stephen M. Reed From the Department of Veterinary Clinical Sciences, College of Veterinary Medicine, The Ohio State University, 601 Vernon L. Tharp St, Columbus, OH 43210.

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James T. Robertson From the Department of Veterinary Clinical Sciences, College of Veterinary Medicine, The Ohio State University, 601 Vernon L. Tharp St, Columbus, OH 43210.

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Summary

Seventy-three horses with cervical stenotic myelopathy underwent cervical vertebral interbody fusion (n = 63) or dorsal laminectomy (n = 10). Neurologic function improved in 77% of horses, and 46% of horses achieved athletic function (racing, race training, or pleasure riding) after cervical vertebral interbody fusion for static and dynamic spinal cord compressive lesions. Neurologic status improved in 4 of 10 horses after dorsal decompression for static compressive spinal cord lesions. The duration of clinical signs prior to surgical intervention was shorter for horses that achieved athletic function or improved by at least 2 neurologic grades than for horses that did not improve in neurologic status or improved 1 neurologic grade after cervical vertebral interbody fusion. The number of cervical spinal cord compressive lesions and age of horses did not affect the long-term surgical outcome of cervical vertebral interbody fusion. Seroma formation, implant failure, right laryngeal hemiplegia, and colitis were nonfatal complications associated with cervical vertebral interbody fusion. Dorsal laminectomy and cervical vertebral interbody fusion of static compressive lesions of the caudal cervical vertebral column were associated with fatal postoperative complications, including vertebral body fracture, spinal cord edema, and implant failure.

Summary

Seventy-three horses with cervical stenotic myelopathy underwent cervical vertebral interbody fusion (n = 63) or dorsal laminectomy (n = 10). Neurologic function improved in 77% of horses, and 46% of horses achieved athletic function (racing, race training, or pleasure riding) after cervical vertebral interbody fusion for static and dynamic spinal cord compressive lesions. Neurologic status improved in 4 of 10 horses after dorsal decompression for static compressive spinal cord lesions. The duration of clinical signs prior to surgical intervention was shorter for horses that achieved athletic function or improved by at least 2 neurologic grades than for horses that did not improve in neurologic status or improved 1 neurologic grade after cervical vertebral interbody fusion. The number of cervical spinal cord compressive lesions and age of horses did not affect the long-term surgical outcome of cervical vertebral interbody fusion. Seroma formation, implant failure, right laryngeal hemiplegia, and colitis were nonfatal complications associated with cervical vertebral interbody fusion. Dorsal laminectomy and cervical vertebral interbody fusion of static compressive lesions of the caudal cervical vertebral column were associated with fatal postoperative complications, including vertebral body fracture, spinal cord edema, and implant failure.

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