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Objective— To report clinical features associated with iatrogenic peripheral nerve injury in dogs and cats admitted (1997–2006) to a referral teaching hospital.

Study Design— Retrospective study.

Animals— Dogs (n=18), 9 cats.

Methods— Patients had acute signs of monoparesis attributable to sciatic nerve dysfunction that developed after treatment. Neurologic examination and electrodiagnostic testing were performed. Surgical therapy was used for nerve entrapment and delayed reconstructive surgery used in other cases.

Results— Of 27 nerve injuries, 25 resulted from surgery (18 with treatment of pelvic injuries). Iliosacral luxation repair resulted in tibial (4 cats) and peroneal (3 dogs) nerve dysfunction. Other causes were intramedullary pinning of femoral fractures (3), other orthopedic surgery (cemented hip prosthesis [2] and tibial plateau-leveling osteotomy [1]), and perineal herniorrhaphy [1]. Nerve injury occurred after intramuscular injection (1 cat, 1 dog). Immediate surgical treatment was removal of intramedullary nails, extruded cement, or entrapping suture. Delayed nerve transplantation was performed in 2 dogs. Within 1 year, 13 patients recovered completely, clinical improvement occurred in 7, and there was no improvement in 7. Five of the 7 dogs that did not recover had acetabular or ilium fracture.

Conclusion— Iatrogenic sciatic nerve injury occurred most commonly during treatment of pelvic orthopedic diseases and had a poor prognosis. Clinical variation in sciatic nerve dysfunction in dogs and cats can be explained by species anatomic differences.

Clinical Relevance— Iatrogenic sciatic nerve injury leads to severely debilitating locomotor dysfunction with an uncertain prognosis for full-functional recovery.