Ventral Slot Surgery, Canine, "Mackenzie"

Case Study

Ventral Slot Surgery, Canine, "Mackenzie"

  • September 29 2023
  • Case Studies

Author(s): Dr. Smith, East Oshawa Animal Hospital, Courtice, ON, Canada


Signalment: Canine, 9.5 years old, Boston Terrier, "Mackenzie"

History: Ventral Slot Surgery C4-5 Vertebre in September 2012; began intense rehab/pt but was still exhibiting neck pain and tetraparesis with manual compression of u. bladder necessary for urination six weeks post-surgery (October).

10 weeks post-surgery (November): Patient is able to stand unsupported for only 1-2 seconds. Significant proprioceptive deficits still noted; goose-stepping at walk when supported with a sling; still requires bladder expression.

14 weeks post-surgery (December): Began laser therapy at 11 weeks post-op. Patient was still incontinent but able to stand and walk with sling support present. Once LT started, neurologic status and comfort level rapidly improved.

Laser treatment: 1080 Total Joules delivered over cervical spine at 6W CW; 815 Total J delivered to each front leg(s). 1356 Total J delivered to each rear leg prior to ROM and therapeutic exercises; 1080 Total J delivered to lumbo-sacral spine. 

Frequency of treatment: EOD for 3 weeks then decreasing to once weekly

18 weeks post-surgery: Started urinating on own; rapidly regaining strength and proprioception. 

22 weeks post-surgery: "Voice recovered", bark no longer raspy; neck less tender and fur growing back; able to go up/down stairs with sling support; urinary continent but still requires stimulation for bowel movements.

26 weeks post-surgery: Decreased LT to every other week, increased strengthening exercises, underwater treadmill

34 weeks post-surgery: Decreased LT to monthly; able to go up stairs without support and do balancing exercises (figure 8s and balance ball) with minimal support.

60 weeks post-surgery: Regained fecal continence; still gets maintenance LT once monthly, able to run unassisted. 

"Mackenzie continues to show improvement 15 months out from surgery. Prior to implementation of laser therapy, cases like this with significant neurologic dysfunction without voluntary control of urination and defecation and limited improvement over time would end up facing euthanasia. We feel the addition of laser therapy to the treatment protocol has had a profoundly beneficial effect on neurologic recovery. What appeared to take three months to accomplish with conventional support needed only three weeks to achieve with the addition of laser therapy."