Outcome of thoracolumbar surgical feline intervertebral disc disease

DOI: 10.1177/1098612X211028031

Objectives: The aim of this study was to evaluate the outcome and prognosis of thoracolumbar feline intervertebral disc disease (IVDD) treated by surgical decompression.

Methods: This was a multi-institutional retrospective study evaluating the age, breed, sex, body weight, presenting complaint, neuroanatomic diagnosis at presentation, diagnostic imaging results, surgery performed and the overall outcome at discharge and at recheck. Bivariable associations between variables were assessed using the Kruskal-Wallis test (age and grade of IVDD at presentation) and Fisher’s exact test (grade of IVDD at presentation and outcome).

Results: A total of 35 cats met the inclusion criteria for the study. The most frequently reported clinical sign was difficulty walking (54.2%). The majority of cats presented with an L4-S3 localization (57%). The most common site of intervertebral disc herniation (IVDH) was at L6-L7 (34%). The majority of feline patients that received surgery had a positive outcome at the time of discharge (62.5%; n = 20/32) and at the time of the 2-week recheck (91.3%; n = 21/23). No association was identified between the age of the patient and the grade of IVDD. No association was identified between the presenting grade of IVDD and the clinical outcome at the time of discharge or at the time of recheck evaluation.

Conclusions and relevance: Cats undergoing spinal decompressive surgery for thoracolumbar IVDH appear to have a favorable prognosis independent of the initial presenting grade of IVDD. A larger sample size and a longer length of follow-up is necessary to obtain statistical associations between the presenting grade of IVDD and overall clinical outcome.