Stiftung Tierärztliche Hochschule Hannover (TiHo)TiHo eLib

Emerging and adjunctive therapies for spinal cord injury following acute canine intervertebral disc herniation

Some dogs do not make a full recovery following medical or surgical management of acute canine intervertebral disc herniation (IVDH), highlighting the limits of currently available treatment options. The multitude of difficulties in treating severe spinal cord injury are well-recognized, and they have spurred intense laboratory research, resulting in a broad range of strategies that might have value in treating spinal cord-injured dogs. These include interventions that aim to directly repair the spinal cord lesion, promote axonal sparing or regeneration, mitigate secondary injury through neuroprotective mechanisms, or facilitate functional compensation. Despite initial promise in experimental models, many of these techniques have failed or shown mild efficacy in clinical trials in humans and dogs, although high quality evidence is lacking for many of these interventions. However, the continued introduction of new options to the veterinary clinic remains important for expanding our understanding of the mechanisms of injury and repair and for development of novel and combined strategies for severely affected dogs. This review outlines adjunctive or emerging therapies that have been proposed as treatment options for dogs with acute IVDH, including discussion of local or lesion-based approaches as well as systemically applied treatments in both acute and subacute-to-chronic settings. These interventions include low-level laser therapy, electromagnetic fields or oscillating electrical fields, adjunctive surgical techniques (myelotomy or durotomy), systemically or locally-applied hypothermia, neuroprotective chemicals, physical rehabilitation, hyperbaric oxygen therapy, electroacupuncture, electrical stimulation of the spinal cord or specific peripheral nerves, nerve grafting strategies, 4-aminopyridine, chondroitinase ABC, and cell transplantation.


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