Partial Ostectomy of the Dens to Correct Atlantoaxial Subluxation in a Pony

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Objective:To report a surgical technique that allows decompression and anatomic re-alignment for management of subluxation of the atlantoaxial articulation.Study Design:Clinical report.Animals:Four-year-old Welsh Section B pony gelding.Methods:Attempts at closed reduction of subluxation of the atlantoaxial articulation under general anesthesia were unsuccessful, so a ventral surgical approach allowing partial ostectomy of the dens of the axis was used to facilitate reduction.Result:Recovery from surgery was uneventful and the pony remained comfortable without neurologic deficits. Both neck stiffness and ataxia resolved. Radiographic examination at 5 days and 6 months postoperatively showed normal anatomic position of the dens of the axis and stabilization of the atlantoaxial joint.Conclusion:Partial ostectomy of the dens using a ventral approach can be used to facilitate reduction of atlantoaxial subluxation.

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