Correlations between severity of clinical signs and histopathological changes in 60 dogs with spinal cord injury associated with acute thoracolumbar intervertebral disc disease.Vet J. 2013 Oct; 198(1):70-5.VJ
The outcome of spinal surgery in dogs with absent voluntary motor function and nociception following intervertebral disc (IVD) herniation is highly variable, which likely attests to differences in the severity of spinal cord damage. This retrospective study evaluated the extent to which neurological signs correlated with histologically detected spinal cord damage in 60 dogs that were euthanased because of thoracolumbar IVD herniation. Clinical neurological grades correlated significantly with the extent of white matter damage (P<0.001). However, loss of nociception also occurred in 6/31 (19%) dogs with relatively mild histological changes. The duration of clinical signs, Schiff-Sherrington posture, loss of reflexes and pain on spinal palpation were not significantly associated with the severity of spinal cord damage. Although clinical-pathological correlation was generally good, some clinical signs frequently thought to indicate severe cord injury did not always correlate with the degree of cord damage, suggesting functional rather than structural impairment in some cases.