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Vet Clin North Am Small Anim Pract. 2010 Sep;40(5):791-807. doi: 10.1016/j.cvsm.2010.05.007.

The pathogenesis and treatment of acute spinal cord injuries in dogs.

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  • 1Department of Clinical Sciences, College of Veterinary Medicine, North Carolina State University, 4700 Hillsborough Street, Raleigh, NC 27606, USA.


Mechanical damage to the spinal cord initiates a secondary injury cascade that results in ischemia, disturbances in ion concentrations, excitotoxicity, production of reactive oxygen species, inflammation, and apoptosis. Over weeks to months a glial scar forms, and scarring can result in the development of syringomyelia. In the early phase of the disease, treatment should focus on maintaining systemic blood pressure and oxygenation, decompression of the spinal cord, and stabilization, if indicated. There are currently no proven neuroprotective drug therapies for limiting secondary damage, but blinded clinical trials are underway. Transplantation with olfactory ensheathing cells and mesenchymal stem cells show promise, as do potassium channel antagonists. Canine clinical trials of these therapies are ongoing.

Copyright 2010 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

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