Send to

Choose Destination
J Am Vet Med Assoc. 2003 Mar 15;222(6):762-9.

Long-term functional outcome of dogs with severe injuries of the thoracolumbar spinal cord: 87 cases (1996-2001).

Author information

Department of Clinical Sciences, College of Veterinary Medicine, North Carolina State University, Raleigh, NC 27606, USA.



To determine long-term (> 6 months) outcome of dogs with paraplegia and loss of hind limb deep pain perception (DPP) resulting from intervertebral disk herniation or trauma.


Retrospective study.


87 dogs.


Outcome was determined as successful or unsuccessful. The association of neuroanatomic localization, breed, age, weight, sex, and (for dogs with intervertebral disk herniation) speed of onset of signs and duration of paraplegia prior to surgery with outcome was evaluated. Owners were contacted by telephone to identify long-term health problems.


Nine of 17 dogs with traumatic injuries were treated, and 2 regained the ability to walk; none of the 17 dogs regained DPP. Sixty-four of 70 dogs with intervertebral disk herniation underwent surgery; 9 (14%) were euthanatized within 3 weeks after surgery (7 because of ascending myelomalacia), 37 (58%) regained DPP and the ability to walk, 7 (11%) regained the ability to walk without regaining DPP, and 11 (17%) remained paraplegic without DPP. Outcome was not associated with any of the factors evaluated, but speed of recovery of ambulation was significantly associated with body weight and age. Fifteen (41%) and 12 (32%) dogs that regained DPP had intermittent fecal and urinary incontinence, respectively.


Results suggested that the prognosis for paraplegic dogs without DPP because of trauma was guarded, while dogs with disk herniation had a better chance of recovering motor function. A third of the dogs that recovered motor function had intermittent incontinence. Persistent loss of DPP did not preclude recovery of motor function, but such dogs remained incontinent.

Comment in

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

Supplemental Content

Loading ...
Support Center