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Lumbo-Sacral Disease

By: Dr. Nicholas Trout

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Treatment In-depth

Treatment for lumbo-sacral disease may include medical management or surgery. The severity of the disease helps determine the best course of treatment.

Medical management is commonly used when bone infection or infection of the disc space is the cause of the lumbo-sacral disease. This will include strict confinement of your dog and administration of anti-inflammatory medications and specific antibiotics.

In milder cases of lumbo-sacral disease due to nerve root compression, or where cost of surgery is prohibitive, strict rest and anti-inflammatory medication may be tried for four to six weeks.

Surgical management is indicated for the repair of most lumbo-sacral fractures and many other causes of nerve root compression. Surgical treatments may include:

  • Surgery done under the same anesthesia as some diagnostic tests (such as an epidurogram or a CT scan). These procedures are not usually necessary when an obvious fracture or dislocation can be seen on a plain X-ray.

  • Spinal fractures and dislocations in the lumbo-sacral region usually can be repaired by a variety of techniques using pins, wires, metal clamps, plates, screws and sterile cement polymers.

  • Surgical repair of nerve root compression usually involves removing a "window" of the bony roof of the spinal canal (a dorsal laminectomy). This allows access to compressive disc material, tumor or thickened ligaments. Extra bone may need to be removed around the openings for outflow of nerves in the bone or at the articulating surfaces of the lumbo-sacral joint. The surgery usually ensures complete freedom of the spinal cord and nerve roots that flow through this region of the spinal canal.

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