Case: Ventral slot surgery for cervical intervertebral disc disease

A 10 year old dalmation presented with mobility issues affecting the hind legs. These had progressed in the previous weeks and months, and at presentation to us the patient was knuckling on both back legs and looked “drunk”. He had obvious neck pain.

 

Mineralised intervertebral discs were apparent between the 3rd and the 4th and between the 4th and the 5th cervical vertebrae. These spaces are indicated with the closed black arrows. A contrast agent was injected into the space around the spinal cord and this shows up white on the x-rays. It indicated that the spinal cord was being compressed at the first, but not the second of these spaces with the mineralised discs (open arrow).

This area was approached from underneath and surgery allowed the disc material which was pushing on the spinal cord to be removed. The surgery was quick enough that there was still enough of the original contrast agent left around the spine to show the decompression that the surgery had achieved.

His neck pain was much improved after surgery and his mobility gradually improved in the weeks that followed.