Evaluation of the success of medical management for presumptive cervical intervertebral disk herniation in dogs. Academic Article uri icon


  • OBJECTIVE: To determine the success of medical management of presumptive cervical disk herniation in dogs and variables associated with treatment outcome. DESIGN: Retrospective case series. ANIMALS: Dogs (n=88) with presumptive cervical disk herniation. METHODS: Dogs with presumptive cervical and thoracolumbar disk herniation were identified from medical records at 2 clinics and clients were mailed a questionnaire related to the success of therapy, clinical recurrence of signs, and quality of life (QOL) as interpreted by the owner. Signalment, duration and degree of neurologic dysfunction, and medication administration were determined from medical records. RESULTS: Ninety-seven percent of dogs (84/87) with complete information were described as ambulatory at initial evaluation. Successful treatment was reported for 48.9% of dogs with 33% having recurrence of clinical signs and 18.1% having therapeutic failure. Bivariable logistic regression showed that non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID) administration was associated with success (P=.035; odds ratio [OR]=2.52). Duration of cage rest and glucocorticoid administration were not significantly associated with success or QOL. Dogs with less-severe neurologic dysfunction were more likely to have a successful outcome (OR=2.56), but this association was not significant (P=.051). CONCLUSIONS: Medical management can lead to an acceptable outcome in many dogs with presumptive cervical disk herniation. Based on these data, NSAIDs should be considered as part of the therapeutic regimen. Cage rest duration and glucocorticoid administration do not appear to benefit these dogs, but this should be interpreted cautiously because of the retrospective data collection and use of client self-administered questionnaire follow-up. CLINICAL RELEVANCE: These results provide insight into the success of medical management for presumptive cervical disk herniation in dogs and may allow for refinement of treatment protocols.

published proceedings

  • Vet Surg

author list (cited authors)

  • Levine, J. M., Levine, G. J., Johnson, S. I., Kerwin, S. C., Hettlich, B. F., & Fosgate, G. T.

citation count

  • 32

complete list of authors

  • Levine, Jonathan M||Levine, Gwendolyn J||Johnson, Scott I||Kerwin, Sharon C||Hettlich, Bianca F||Fosgate, Geoffrey T

publication date

  • July 2007