Surgical Treatment of Disk-Associated Wobbler Syndrome by a Distractable Vertebral Titanium Cage in Seven Dogs

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Objective:To evaluate a distractable titanium cage for the treatment of disk-associated wobbler syndrome (DAWS).Study Design:Prospective study.Animals:Dogs (n=7) with DAWS.Methods:After total discectomy of C5–C6 and C6–C7, the median part of the vertebral body of C6 was removed with preservation of the lateral walls and dorsal cortex. The removed cancellous bone was collected. The implant was placed in the bony defect of C6. After placement, the titanium cage was distracted and affixed by 4 screws. Finally, the implant was filled and covered with cancellous bone. Dogs had follow-up examinations at 1, 3, 6, 12, and 24 months. Six months after surgery, cervical radiographs and computed tomography (CT) were performed.Results:Although no intraoperative complications occurred, correct placement of the cage was technically challenging. Revision surgery was necessary in 2 dogs because of implant loosening and aggravation of vertebral tilting. All dogs improved after discharge from the hospital. In 1 dog, recurrence of clinical signs caused by articular facet proliferation at an adjacent intervertebral disk space occurred. Radiographs at 6 months demonstrated cage subsidence in 4 dogs. In all dogs, CT was suggestive for fusion of the bone graft with the vertebral body.Conclusions:Although results are promising, technical adaptations will be necessary to make this specific surgical technique, designed for humans, suitable for routine use in dogs.

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