Surgical management of a Schmorl’s node in an Airedale Terrier and review of the literature

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Baltzer WI, Hillebrand L, Smith TJ, et al.

Vet Comp Orthop Traumatol 2012;25:167-171.

OBJECTIVE: To describe a clinical case of Schmorl’s node affecting the lumbosacral disc in an Airedale Terrier including surgical management, short-term outcome, and review of the literature. METHODS: A five-year-old male Airedale Terrier with signs of chronic spinal pain and right hindlimb muscle fasciculation was diagnosed with a Schmorl’s node with computed tomography. Repeat imaging performed two months later identified enlargement of the defect in the seventh lumbar vertebra (L7) and herniation of the lumbosacral disc into the spinal canal. RESULTS: Dorsal laminectomy and discectomy were performed and the defect was treated with curettage and stabilization of the L7 and first sacral vertebra disc space with pins and bone cement. Immediately postoperatively, the patient had proprioception deficits in the hindlimbs and decreased right patellar reflex. Over the next four months the dog’s neurological condition improved and no neurological or gait deficits were present six months postoperatively. CLINICAL SIGNIFICANCE: Schmorl’s node may be a cause of signs of chronic pain in dogs. Successful management may be achieved surgically, although in the case reported here, recovery was prolonged. To the authors’ knowledge, this is the first report of progressive enlargement of a Schmorl’s node in a dog.