CASE DESCRIPTION: 3 toy-breed dogs (a 5-year-old Pomeranian, a 12-year-old Pomeranian, and a 13-year-old Yorkshire Terrier) were evaluated because of a sudden onset of nonambulatory tetraparesis.
CLINICAL FINDINGS: In all 3 dogs, MRI revealed a dorsal compressive atlantoaxial (AA) band as the cause of the neurologic deficits. Percentages of dorsal compression of the spinal cord were 28.6%, 31%, and 28.8%.
TREATMENT AND OUTCOME: All 3 dogs underwent decompressive surgery via a dorsal approach. The AA band was removed, and a durotomy was performed, which resulted in spontaneous drainage of a copious amount of CSF. Grossly, the spinal cord parenchyma appeared normal, other than the dorsal compression. To alleviate the AA instability resulting from removal of the dorsal AA ligament, 2-0 polydioxanone was placed in the dorsal cervical muscles extending from the atlantooccipital joint to C2. Postoperatively, all 3 dogs regained normal ambulation between 18 and 30 days after surgery. No complications were reported, and clinical signs did not recur during follow-up times ranging from 4 to 19 months.
CLINICAL RELEVANCE: Findings suggested that surgical treatment may be an effective option in managing dogs with a dorsal compressive AA band causing nonambulatory tetraparesis. Notably, all of the dogs had other craniocervical abnormalities, but none of these abnormalities were considered severe enough to have caused tetraparesis.