A Method for Intervertebral Space Distraction Before Stabilization Combined with Complete Ventral Slot for Treatment of Disc-Associated Wobbler Syndrome in Dogs


Address reprint requests to Dr. Shamir, DVM, Diplomate ECVN, Koret School of Veterinary Medicine, The Hebrew University of Jerusalem, PO Box 12, Rehovot 76100 Israel. E-mail: shamir@agri.huji.ac.il


Objective— To evaluate the use of a modified K-wire spacer for maintaining intervertebral distraction after ventral decompression and during stabilization as a treatment for disc-associated wobbler syndrome in large breed dogs.

Study Design— A retrospective study.

Animals— Dogs (n=7) with disc-associated wobbler syndrome.

Methods— Medical records (2003–2006) of dogs treated by a modified surgical method were evaluated. Data retrieved were signalment, onset and duration of clinical signs, neurologic abnormalities, diagnostic methods, surgical procedure, immediate, and long-term (≥1 year) postoperative clinical and radiographic outcome.

Results— Mean duration of clinical signs was 4.8 months. Neurologic signs included ataxia (2), ambulatory tetraparesis (2), and non-ambulatory tetraparesis (3). Three dogs had disc protrusion in 2 sites, 2 dogs had the procedure in 1 location and stabilization of both affected sites. All dogs improved dramatically and remained for 1–3 years. One dog had recurrence of cervical discomfort 13 months later.

Conclusions— Despite the limited number of dogs, overall initial successful outcome with only 1 dog having mild recurrence 13 months later supports further use and evaluation of this technique.

Clinical Relevance— Distraction using a K-wire spacer after ventral decompression followed by stabilization should be considered in dogs with disc-associated wobbler syndrome to prevent collapse of the intervertebral space.