Surgical techniques used in the management of intra-arachnoid diverticula in dogs across four referral centres and their immediate outcome

B Jones, S Behr, T Shaw, R Cappello, N Jeffery, F X Liebel, T Harcourt-Brown
J Small Anim Pract. 2022 Feb 9. doi: 10.1111/jsap.13486.

Objectives: To report the surgical techniques being used to treat single focal spinal intra-arachnoid diverticula in dogs, their complications and immediate postoperative outcomes.

Materials and methods: Retrospective multi-centre case series across four referral centres.

Results: Fifty-seven dogs were included in the study. The most common type of surgery was durectomy (28 dogs) followed by marsupialisation (11 dogs), durotomy alone (seven dogs), shunt placement (six dogs) and stabilisation (five dogs). A higher proportion of intra-arachnoid shunt dogs became unable to walk in the immediate postoperative period (24 hours postsurgery) (4/6, 66%) compared to all dogs five of 57, 9% (2/7 durotomy alone, 3/28 durectomy alone). Of the nine dogs with immediate postoperative deterioration, seven had improved, walking without assistance, by 3 to 5 weeks postoperatively.

Clinical significance: This study does not identify an influence of surgical technique on short-term outcome. Dogs with a thoracolumbar intra-arachnoid diverticulum that undergo a shunt placement are likely to deteriorate neurologically in the immediate 24-hour postoperative period but appear to improve by 3 to 5 weeks after surgery. Further work is required to evaluate whether one surgical technique is superior for preventing or reducing long-term relapse.

Small animal: