Outcome of and complications associated with prophylactic percutaneous laser disk ablation in dogs with thoracolumbar disk disease: 277 cases (1992–2001)

Kenneth E. Bartels Department of Veterinary Clinical Sciences and the Sarkeys Surgical Laser Laboratory, College of Veterinary Medicine, Oklahoma State University, Stillwater, OK 74078.

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Russell G. Higbee Department of Veterinary Clinical Sciences and the Sarkeys Surgical Laser Laboratory, College of Veterinary Medicine, Oklahoma State University, Stillwater, OK 74078.

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Robert J. Bahr Department of Veterinary Clinical Sciences and the Sarkeys Surgical Laser Laboratory, College of Veterinary Medicine, Oklahoma State University, Stillwater, OK 74078.

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David S. Galloway Department of Veterinary Clinical Sciences and the Sarkeys Surgical Laser Laboratory, College of Veterinary Medicine, Oklahoma State University, Stillwater, OK 74078.

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Tiffany S. Healey Department of Veterinary Clinical Sciences and the Sarkeys Surgical Laser Laboratory, College of Veterinary Medicine, Oklahoma State University, Stillwater, OK 74078.

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Christopher Arnold Department of Veterinary Clinical Sciences and the Sarkeys Surgical Laser Laboratory, College of Veterinary Medicine, Oklahoma State University, Stillwater, OK 74078.

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Abstract

Objective—To determine outcome of and complications associated with prophylactic percutaneous laser disk ablation in dogs with thoracolumbar disk disease.

Design—Retrospective study.

Animals—277 dogs.

Procedure—Medical records of dogs with a history of thoracolumbar disk disease in which the 7 intervertebral disks from T10-11 through L3-4 were ablated with a holmium-yttrium-aluminum-garnet laser inserted through percutaneously placed needles were reviewed. Complications and episodes of a recurrence of neurologic signs (eg, paresis or paralysis) were recorded. Owners were contacted by telephone for follow-up information.

Results—Nine of 262 (3.4%) dogs for which followup information was available had a recurrence of paresis or paralysis. Follow-up time ranged from 1 to 85 months (mean, 15 months); signs recurred between 3 and 52 months (mean, 15.1 months) after laser disk ablation. Acute complications occurred in 5 dogs and included mild pneumothorax in 1 dog, an abscess at a needle insertion site in 1 dog, and proprioceptive deficits in 3 dogs, 1 of which required hemilaminectomy within 1 week because of progression and severity of neurologic signs. One dog developed diskospondylitis.

Conclusions and Clinical Relevance—Results suggest that prophylactic percutaneous laser disk ablation is associated with few complications and may reduce the risk of recurrence of signs of intervertebral disk disease in dogs. (J Am Vet Med Assoc 2003;222: 1733–1739)

Abstract

Objective—To determine outcome of and complications associated with prophylactic percutaneous laser disk ablation in dogs with thoracolumbar disk disease.

Design—Retrospective study.

Animals—277 dogs.

Procedure—Medical records of dogs with a history of thoracolumbar disk disease in which the 7 intervertebral disks from T10-11 through L3-4 were ablated with a holmium-yttrium-aluminum-garnet laser inserted through percutaneously placed needles were reviewed. Complications and episodes of a recurrence of neurologic signs (eg, paresis or paralysis) were recorded. Owners were contacted by telephone for follow-up information.

Results—Nine of 262 (3.4%) dogs for which followup information was available had a recurrence of paresis or paralysis. Follow-up time ranged from 1 to 85 months (mean, 15 months); signs recurred between 3 and 52 months (mean, 15.1 months) after laser disk ablation. Acute complications occurred in 5 dogs and included mild pneumothorax in 1 dog, an abscess at a needle insertion site in 1 dog, and proprioceptive deficits in 3 dogs, 1 of which required hemilaminectomy within 1 week because of progression and severity of neurologic signs. One dog developed diskospondylitis.

Conclusions and Clinical Relevance—Results suggest that prophylactic percutaneous laser disk ablation is associated with few complications and may reduce the risk of recurrence of signs of intervertebral disk disease in dogs. (J Am Vet Med Assoc 2003;222: 1733–1739)

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