Surgical treatment

When to consider surgery

  1. Partial or total paralysis or upon your specialist advising surgery is indicated
    • Legs drag behind and do not move
    • Loss of bladder/bowel control. Leaks urine when picked up or find the bedding wet or with poop.
    • You observe rapid loss of function
  2. When conservative treatment fails to resolve pain – Has not worked including repeated series of attempts with anti-inflammatories.
  3. Too many multiple episodes during the dog’s life.

When surgery is most successful

  1. If surgery is to be considered, it should be done as soon as possible with a paralyzed dog. After paralysis there is a window of time 12-24 hours after loss of deep pain sensation (DPS) that surgery can still be successful. The more hours lapse after 24 hours, the less chance of complete recovery.
  2. Seek a board-certified neuro (ACVIM) or ortho (ACVS) surgeon. You may need a referral to these specialists from your vet. Learn about for no or low interest credit.
  3. Many emergency veterinary hospitals have a specialist on call if an emergency happens after hours and will take a downed dog without a referral from your vet.

Board-certified neuro (ACVIM) and ortho (ACVS) surgical specialists can be found at University vet teaching hospitals and private practice.

Find Veterinary surgeons (ACVS) and neuro surgeons (ACVIM) here:  


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