Thoraco-lumbar intervertebral disc extrusion is a common condition seen in veterinary
practice. Although there are different surgical techniques described for decompression, most
of these techniques are based on the surgeon’s preference or experience rather than clinical
research. Our objective was to determine the clinical outcomes, using return to ambulation
and micturition, as well as complication rates, in a large cohort of dogs by using a minihemilaminectomy
for decompression of the thoraco-lumbar spinal cord with Hansen type
I thoraco-lumbar intervertebral disc extrusions (IVDE). A retrospective study was performed
on dogs presented for acute thoraco-lumbar IVDE undergoing surgical decompression. In
total, 252 spinal decompression surgeries were performed. The recovery rates for patients
graded with a modified Frankel score (MFS) of 5 to 0 were 100%, 99%, 100%, 96%, 86% and
64%, respectively. The mean days to micturition across all the MFS 5–0 were 1.5 (standard
deviation [SD] ± 0.7), 1.8 (SD ± 1), 4.3 (SD ± 1.7), 6.4 (SD ± 2.2), 9.3 (SD 3) and 11.9 (SD ± 2.2),
respectively. The mean days to ambulation across all the groups 5–0 were 2 (SD ± 0.7),
2.6 (SD ± 1), 7.6 (SD ± 4.4), 10.1 (SD ± 2.5), 16.1 (SD ± 2.9) and 19.3 (SD ± 2.6), respectively.
Postoperative complications were seen in 32 of the surgeries, with a complication rate of 13%.
Minor complications accounted for 38% of all complications, and major complications
constituted 62% of all complications. In total, 15 dogs died or were euthanised as a direct result
of thoraco-lumbar disc extrusion or the surgical procedure, with a mortality rate of 6% across
all groups. A mini-hemilaminectomy provides similar clinical outcomes described in the
literature for other methods of spinal cord decompressive surgery, and it also provides patients
with similar short-term outcomes to other described decompressive surgical techniques in the
dog, which have been described in the literature.