Case description: 3 immature screw-tailed dogs were evaluated because of progressive pelvic limb paraparesis.
Clinical findings: Each dog had marked ataxia and paresis of the pelvic limbs and a palpable deformity of the midthoracic portion of the vertebral column. Pain perception in the pelvic limbs was considered normal, and there was no evidence of fecal or urinary incontinence in any of the 3 dogs. Radiography and magnetic resonance imaging revealed hemivertebrae with severe dorsoventral stenosis of the vertebral canal resulting in spinal cord compression in 2 dogs and lateral compression in the other.
Treatment and outcome: Each dog underwent decompressive surgery consisting of dorsal laminectomy or hemilaminectomy and vertebral stabilization by use of combinations of Kirschner wires or threaded external fixator pins plus polymethylmethacrylate bone cement. All dogs regained strong locomotor function with minimal residual pelvic limb ataxia.
Clinical relevance: Little detailed information regarding surgical treatment of hemivertebrae in dogs is available; results of treatment in these 3 dogs suggest that spinal cord decompression and stabilization of the vertebral column can achieve a satisfactory, functional outcome.