Pets experiencing neurological disorders may require brain or spinal surgery. Our team has over 70 combined years of experience in neurosurgery to provide your pet with the level of care they deserve.
In addition to our practiced surgical skill, we also provide superior medical care. For the duration of the surgical procedures (including pre- and post-op), your pet is constantly monitored by a dedicated veterinary technician.
We strive to treat neurological disorders using the least invasive means possible. However, there are some spinal cord issues that require surgical intervention, such as advanced Intervertebral Disc Disease (IVDD) or severe traumatic injury.
A laminectomy surgery is performed by removing the top of the vertebra, the lamina, to gain access to the spinal cord. The surgeon can then gently remove the protruding or ruptured disk material (or tumor) that is compressing the bottom and/or side of the spinal cord and/or nerve roots.
This is a type of laminectomy in which only a portion of the lamina is removed. The pedicle (side) of the vertebra is also removed allowing the surgeon to approach the spinal cord at a side angle.
Patients with spinal cord compression in the neck may require a ventral slot surgery which is performed from the underside of the neck.
In this procedure, a caudal occipital craniectomy +/- dorsal laminectomy of C1 is performed to treat caudal occipital malformation syndrome (COMS) in dogs. The goal of the surgery is to decompress the spinal cord and cerebellum at the level of the foramen magnum, stop the progression of the syrinx and aid the flow of cerbrospinal fluid (CSF).
Vertebral stabilization surgeries are performed to repair fractures, stenosis or subluxations/luxations of the vertebrae. Fractures are primarily caused by trauma while stenosis is usually due to degenerative or congenital reasons. Subluxations or luxations are often caused by a malformation of the vertebrae (often congenital) or a problem with the ligaments which hold the vertebrae in place (usually congenital and/or traumatic). Pins, screws, and/or bone cement are used to fuse parts of a vertebra or multiple vertebra together to fix the instability and alleviate pressure on the spinal cord.
There are a number of neurological disorders that may be effectively treated with medications or other non- or minimally invasive means. However, there are conditions that may most effectively be treated through brain surgery.
The goal of this surgery is to remove as much, if not all, of the tumor as possible while trying to minimize damage to healthy tissue. A craniotomy is performed to gain access to the lesion. Once the tumor has been identified, the neurosurgeon may use a fluorescent dye to highlight the tumor. Then an advanced surgical instrument is implemented to aid in the removal of neoplastic tissue while leaving behind healthy tissue. To verify the type of cancer and help with treatment, the neurosurgeon will submit a sample of the tumor to a pathologist for testing.
Some tumors can be removed completely, while others can be removed only partially or not at all. A combination of therapies (radiation and chemotherapy) are used to treat tumors that can’t be removed surgically or by surgery alone. Once treated, a brain tumor may remain in remission for years or may never recur. A repeat CT or MRI scan may be recommended to monitor for tumor regrowth.
Ventriculoperitoneal (VP) shunt placement is a surgery performed to relieve intracranial pressure caused by hydrocephalus. A craniotomy is performed to gain access to the ventricles and draw off (shunt) cerebrospinal fluid into the peritoneal space of the abdominal cavity.
Electrodiagnostic studies are used to measure certain types of electrical activity, particularly action potentials of muscle, nerve and brain tissue.
Electrodiagnostic studies can measure communication between these cells suggesting particular types of nervous system disease including function of nerves and muscles. Other electrodiagnostic tests can be used to screen for deafness. (BAER and BAEP).
Electromyography measures the electrical discharges produced in muscles. The patient must remain still to eliminate unwanted voluntary action that may cause artifacts. Therefore, certain patients must be sedated in order to obtain accurate results. The test is painless and takes approximately 20 minutes.
Nerve conduction velocity studies evaluate the health of the nerve and the myelin that surrounds it. We evaluate the speed of signal conduction. We can also tell if all the neurons within a nerve are working at the same speed.
BAER tests hearing using earphones that deliver a series of clicks to your pet’s ears. We record the electrical activity in the auditory (hearing) pathway from the inner ear receptors through the brainstem, to the cerebral cortex. Brainstem auditory evoked responses are evoked potentials used to detect, localize and monitor auditory and neurological deficits. Hearing tests may require sedation. Puppies can be tested for registration as early as 6 weeks old.