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Intraoperative Use of Ultrasonography During Continuous Dorsal Laminectomy in Two Dogs with Caudal Cervical Vertebral Instability and Malformation (“Wobbler Syndrome”)


Address reprint requests to Dr. Beatrix Nanai, DVM, Animal Emergency and Referral Center, 3984 S. U.S. Highway 1, Fort Pierce, FL 34982. E-mail:


Objective— To describe an intraoperative ultrasound imaging technique during dorsal laminectomy in 2 dogs with caudal cervical vertebral instability and malformation (CCVIM, “Wobbler syndrome”).

Study Design— Clinical case report.

Sample Population— Two dogs with CCVIM.

Results— On neurologic examination there was tetraparesis with upper motor neuron signs in the thoracic limbs and lower motor neuron signs in the pelvic limbs in dog 1, and hyperreflexia of the rear limbs, normoreflexia of the right front limb, and hyporeflexia of the left front limb of dog 2. Both dogs had signs of marked cervical pain and radiographic signs of cervical spinal cord compression. Intraoperative ultrasonography of the spinal cord revealed protruding intervertebral disc at C5–6 (dog 1) and C6–7 (dog 2), and the parallel borders of the spinal cord and central canal after decompression. Continuous dorsal laminectomy (CDL) resulted in improvement over 16 months (dog 1) and 20 months (dog 2).

Conclusions— Intraoperative ultrasonographic imaging of the cervical spinal cord after CDL was helpful in determining adequate decompression (postlaminectomy) of the spinal cord in relation to the ventral and lateral compressive component(s) and to image the protruding intervertebral disc.

Clinical Relevance— Intraoperative ultrasonography can be used to provide valuable information on the spinal cord and surrounding soft tissues for the neurosurgeon.