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Objective

To report findings and outcomes of dogs with reherniation of nuclear material within 7 days of hemilaminectomy for acute thoracolumbar (TL) intervertebral disk extrusion.

Study Design

Retrospective case series.

Animals

Chondrodystrophic dogs (n = 11).

Methods

Dogs with acute neurologic decline within 1 week of surgical decompression for TL disk extrusion were identified. Advanced imaging was used to document extradural spinal cord compression at the previous surgery site. Ten dogs had a 2nd decompressive surgery to remove extruded nuclear material.

Results

All dogs had acute neurologic deterioration (average, 2 neurologic grades) 2–7 days after initial hemilaminectomy. Computed tomography (CT; n = 10) or myelography (n = 1) documented extradural spinal cord compression compatible with extruded disk material at the previous hemilaminectomy site. Dogs that had a 2nd surgical decompression improved neurologically within 24 hours and were paraparetic at discharge. The single dog that did not have decompressive surgery did not regain deep nociception during 185-day follow-up.

Conclusions

Early reherniation at the site of previous hemilaminectomy can produce acute deterioration of neurologic function and should be investigated with diagnostic imaging. Repeat decompressive surgery can lead to functional recovery.