Influence of in-house rehabilitation on the postoperative outcome of dogs with intervertebral disk herniation

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Abstract

Objective:

To determine the influence of in-house rehabilitation on the postoperative outcome of dogs with intervertebral disk herniation (IVDH).

Design:

Retrospective cohort study.

Animals:

Dogs (n = 248) under 20 kg of weight, with single site, thoracolumbar, Hansen Type I IVDH.

Procedures:

Medical records of non-ambulatory dogs with IVDH treated via hemilaminectomy were reviewed. Dogs were classified in 2 groups depending on whether their postoperative management included an in-house rehabilitation program. Preoperative and sequential postoperative modified Frankel scores (MFSs) were recorded. Time to ambulation, time to normal conscious proprioception, final MFS, and complications were compared between the groups.

Results:

More dogs returned to full neurologic function (final MFS of Grade 5) when in-house rehabilitation was included in the postoperative management (33% compared to 9%). Normal conscious proprioception and ambulation returned earlier in the control group (42 days and 14 days, respectively) compared to the group with rehabilitation (49 days and 28 days, respectively). The complication rate was higher in the control group (29%) compared with the group with rehabilitation (16%).

Conclusions and clinical relevance:

In-house rehabilitation should be included in the postoperative management in dogs after surgical treatment of IVDH to improve neurologic function and reduce postoperative complications.

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