Objective— To determine the success of medical management of presumptive thoracolumbar disk herniation in dogs and the variables associated with treatment outcome.
Study Design— Retrospective case series.
Animals— Dogs (n=223) with presumptive thoracolumbar disk herniation.
Methods— Medical records from 2 clinics were used to identify affected dogs, and owners were mailed a questionnaire about success of therapy, recurrence of clinical signs, and quality of life (QOL) as interpreted by the owner. Signalment, duration and degree of neurologic dysfunction, and medication administration were determined from medical records.
Results— Eighty-three percent of dogs (185/223) were ambulatory at initial evaluation. Successful treatment was reported for 54.7% of dogs, with 30.9% having recurrence of clinical signs and 14.4% classified as therapeutic failures. From bivariable logistic regression, glucocorticoid administration was negatively associated with success (P=.008; odds ratio [OR]=.48) and QOL scores (P=.004; OR=.48). The duration of cage rest was not significantly associated with success or QOL. Nonambulatory dogs were more likely to have lower QOL scores (P=.01; OR=2.34).
Conclusions— Medical management can lead to an acceptable outcome in many dogs with presumptive thoracolumbar disk herniation. Cage rest duration does not seem to affect outcome and glucocorticoids may negatively impact success and QOL. The conclusions in this report should be interpreted cautiously because of the retrospective data collection and the use of client self-administered questionnaire follow-up.
Clinical Relevance— These results provide an insight into the success of medical management for presumptive thoracolumbar disk herniation in dogs and may allow for refinement of treatment protocols.