What is hemilaminectomy surgery?
Hemilaminectomy is a surgical procedure used in dogs to correct slipped or herniated discs in the thoracolumbar spine. The thoracolumbar spine is in the upper and middle region of the spine. Some cases of thoracolumbar intervertebral disc disease may be treated using conservative methods such as medications and exercise restriction. In fact, these are typically the first line of treatment for acute cases. Hemilaminectomy is usually recommended for severe and recurring cases. Dwarf dog breeds, including the Dachshund, English bulldog, and Welsh Corgi, have a predisposition for developing intervertebral disc disease.
Efficacy of hemilaminectomy spine surgery on your dog
The efficacy of this procedure will depend on the severity and symptoms of the slipped disc, although the prognosis is generally good. It is decompression surgery, meaning that it relieves compression on the spinal cord. This usually resolves symptoms. For less severe cases, surgery carries an average success rate of 96%. Hemilaminectomy may not be as successful for dogs that do not have any sensation in their toes, or have more than one slipped disc. In these cases, it is more likely that the dog will not respond to conservative treatment. The surgery success rate for severe cases can still be as high as 76%.
Hemilaminectomy spine surgery prevention for dogs
Intervertebral disc disease (IVDD) associated with breed or genetics is difficult to prevent. However, it is the owner’s responsibility to ensure their dog does not engage in activities that may result in severe spinal cord trauma. These may include falling from heights and being hit by a vehicle.