Progressive myelomalacia (PMM) is a dire complication associated with acute spinal cord injury (from intervertebral disc extrusion (IVDE). Understanding of the pathophysiology of this disease is limited. The objective of this retrospective study was to identify risk factors for the development of PMM by comparing client-owned paraplegic dogs without pain perception following IVDE that did and did not develop the disease.
Dogs with acute IVDE causing paraplegia with loss of pain perception were identified from the Canine Spinal Cord Injury Program database and by search of medical records. Dogs were categorized as PMM yes or no based on clinical progression and/or histopathology. Signalment, onset and duration of signs (categorized), steroids (yes or no), non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (yes or no), spinal cord appearance during surgery (normal or abnormal), location (lumbar intumescence or thoracolumbar) and amount of disc material were retrieved and their association with PMM was examined in all dogs and dogs treated surgically using logistic regression.
Two hundred and eight dogs met the inclusion criteria, 56 with histopathologically confirmed or presumptive PMM (44 surgically decompressed) and 152 without PMM (all surgically decompressed). Disc extrusions at the lumbar intumescence (p = 0,0147), longer time from loss of ambulation to surgery (p = 0,0171), and no steroids prior to presentation (p = 0,0119) were significantly associated with development of PMM. We conclude that dogs with IVDE at the intumescence are at increased risk of PMM. Timing of surgery and steroid use may warrant further investigations.
Assistant Professor in Neurology/Neurosurgery
The University of Tennessee College of Veterinary Medicine
Thursday, June 14
1:45 PM – 2:00 PM
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