Long-term postoperative pain evaluation in dogs with thoracolumbar intervertebral disk herniation after hemilaminectomy

Natalia Zidan, Julia Medland, Natasha Olby

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Scopus citations


Background: Chronic neuropathic pain is a common complication in people with spinal cord injury (SCI) but has not been investigated in dogs. Objective: To determine the reliability of measuring spinal mechanical sensory thresholds (MSTs) in dogs and to compare MSTs of healthy dogs and dogs with SCI caused by acute thoracolumbar intervertebral disk extrusion after hemilaminectomy over a 1-year period. Study Design: Prospective study. Animals: Thirty-two healthy and 40 SCI dogs. Methods: Dogs were divided into group 1 (healthy Dachshunds), group 2 (healthy dogs including several breeds), and SCI group. The MSTs were measured using algometry at an incision (thoracolumbar) and control site. Dogs in group 1 were tested once; those in group 2 were tested for 5 consecutive days; and SCI dogs were tested on days 7, 14, 28, 42, 180, and 365 postoperatively. The MSTs were compared among days in healthy and SCI dogs and between SCI and healthy dogs using mixed effect models. P <.05 was considered significant. Results: At the incision site of SCI dogs, MST was significantly lower than in healthy dogs for 42 days postoperatively, but not subsequently. However, 4/27 dogs had control site MST below the reference range 1 year after surgery. Conclusions and Clinical Importance: Mechanical sensory thresholds normalize by 6 months after surgery in most dogs with SCI. Approximately 15% of SCI dogs may develop chronic neuropathic pain. Improving long-term pain assessment of SCI dogs is important for offering treatment options and advising owners.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1547-1555
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of veterinary internal medicine
Issue number4
StatePublished - Jul 1 2020
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
Assisi Animal Health; Morris Animal Foundation, Grant/Award Number: D16CA‐081; NIH T35 IBRTP training grant Funding information

Funding Information:
We acknowledge Dr Hongyu Ru for the statistical analysis. J. M. was supported by an NIH T35 IBRTP training grant. Affected dogs were participating in studies sponsored by the Morris Animal Foundation and Assisi Animal Health.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2020 The Authors. Journal of Veterinary Internal Medicine published by Wiley Periodicals, Inc. on behalf of the American College of Veterinary Internal Medicine.


  • algometry
  • mechanical thresholds
  • neuropathic pain
  • postoperative pain
  • spinal cord injury


Dive into the research topics of 'Long-term postoperative pain evaluation in dogs with thoracolumbar intervertebral disk herniation after hemilaminectomy'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this