Vertebral stabilisation for thoracolumbar vertebral instability associated with cranial and caudal articular process anomalies in pugs: Seven cases (2010-2019)

T Aikawa, Y Miyazaki, S Kihara, Y Saitoh, M Nishimura, S L Stephan, C W Dewey
J Small Anim Pract. 2022 May 16. doi: 10.1111/jsap.13505.

Objectives: To describe the diagnostic findings, surgical technique and outcomes in seven pugs with thoracolumbar vertebral instability due to articular process anomalies.

Materials and methods: Records (2010 to 2019) of pugs with thoracolumbar vertebral instability associated with articular process anomalies that underwent decompressive laminectomy and vertebral stabilisation were reviewed. Data on preoperative and postoperative neurologic status, diagnostic findings, surgical techniques and outcomes were retrieved.

Results: Seven dogs were presented with ambulatory or non-ambulatory paraparesis. Caudal articular process anomalies (three dogs) and concomitant cranial and caudal articular process anomalies (four dogs) were noted. Myelography (six dogs) or magnetic resonance imaging (one dog) showed none to severe spinal cord compression. Dynamic myelography in six dogs demonstrated nine distinct sites of spinal cord dimension reduction positioned in extension and/or flexion (mean reduction: 16.0%, range: 8.5 to 24.0%). These dynamic compressions were located at sites with articular process anomalies (seven sites) and sites with no articular process anomalies (two sites). Vertebral instability was confirmed by intraoperative spinal manipulation in all dogs. All dogs remained ambulatory with improved (five dogs) or static (two dogs) neurological deficits at the last follow-up (median: 16 months; range: 1.5 to 66 months).

Clinical significance: Dynamic myelography and/or intraoperative spinal manipulation demonstrated vertebral instabilities at sites with or without articular process anomalies on imaging. Decompressive laminectomy with vertebral stabilisation resulted in long-term neurological improvement in most dogs.