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Clincial Trial: Spinal Surgery

​​The use of a minimally invasive integrated endoscopic system to perform hemilaminectomies in chondrodystrophic dogs with thoracolumbar intervertebral disc extrusions



To evaluate the use of a minimally invasive approach to perform hemilaminectomies in certain dogs with intervertebral disc herniations.

Eligibility criteria

  • ​MRI-confirmed acute singe site intervertebral disc herniation in thoracolumbar region
  • 'Complete' paralysis of back legs (total loss of movement)
  • Chondrodystrophic breed (see table)
  • Less than 15kg (33 lb)
  • Normal bloodwork
  • No other neurologic disease
  • Otherwise healthy​

Common chondrodystrophic breeds (not a complete list)

​Australian Cocker Spaniel ​Coton de Tulear ​Pembroke Welsh Corgi
​Australian Shepherd ​Dachshund ​Pinscher (miniature)
​Beagle ​Dandie Dinmont Terrier ​Poodle (miniature and toy)
​Bichon Frise ​French Bulldog ​Pug
​Boykin Spaniel ​German Hound ​Rat Terrier
​Bulldog ​Havanese ​Scottish Terrier
​Cardigan Welsh Corgi ​Jack Russell Terrier ​Shih Tzu
​Cavalier King Charles Spaniel ​Lhasa Apso ​Skye Terrier
​Chihuahua ​Maltese ​Yorkshire Terrier
​Chinese Crested ​Pekingese

Chrondrodystrophy (CDDY and IVDD risk) and Chondrodysplasia (CDPA); adapted from: and​

Study design

After an MRI is completed to confirm thoracolumbar intervertebral disc herniation, dogs will be randomly assigned to receive either a minimally invasive approach or standard open approach for the hemilaminectomy.

After surgery, a second MRI will be performed to ensure that adequate decompression has been achieved. Per normal post-operative protocol, dogs will remain hospitalized for 3-5 days. A blinded observer will evaluate pain throughout the hospital stay. Two weeks after being discharged from the hospital, patients will return to the VTH for a follow-up appointment.


  • All clients will receive a $1,500 credit towards their final invoice (plus discounted blood work and x-rays) 
  • If enrolled in minimally invasive group there is a potential for lessened postoperative pain, shortened anesthesia time, and fewer complications
  • Contributing to the development of novel, state-of-the art surgical procedures


  • Both approaches involved risks associated with any neurologic surgery
  • If a patient is enrolled in the minimally invasive group and decompression is not achieved, either during or after surgery, the patient will undergo a standard open approach


  • Clients ARE responsible for the remainder of the cost after $1,500 credit is applied towards surgery
  • In the event that that a patient is placed in the MIS group and needs to be converted to an open-standard approach, clients are NOT responsible for the additional costs.
  • Clients are NOT responsible fo​r a re-check exam fee

To enroll

Contact the James L. Voss Veterinary Teaching Hospital Neurology service by calling (970) 297-4405 or email