Novel Surgery Technique for Paralyzed Dogs


To evaluate the use of a minimally invasive approach to perform hemilaminectomies in certain dogs with intervertebral disc herniations.

Study design

After an MRI is completed to confirm thoracolumbar intervertebral disc herniation, dogs will be randomly assigned to receive either a minimally invasive approach or standard open approach for the hemilaminectomy.

After surgery, a second MRI will be performed to ensure that adequate decompression has been achieved. Per normal post-operative protocol, dogs will remain hospitalized for 3-5 days. A blinded observer will evaluate pain throughout the hospital stay. Two weeks after being discharged from the hospital, patients will return to the VTH for a follow-up appointment.


  • All clients will receive a $2,500 credit towards their final invoice (plus discounted blood work and x-rays)
  • If enrolled in minimally invasive group there is a potential for lessened postoperative pain, shortened anesthesia time, and fewer complications
  • Contributing to the development of novel, state-of-the art surgical procedures


  • Both approaches involved risks associated with any neurologic surgery
  • If a patient is enrolled in the minimally invasive group and decompression is not achieved, either during or after surgery, the patient will undergo a standard open approach


  • Clients ARE responsible for the remainder of the cost after $2,500 credit is applied towards surgery
  • In the event that that a patient is placed in the MIS group and needs to be converted to an open-standard approach, clients are NOT responsible for the additional costs.
  • Clients are NOT responsible fo​r a re-check exam fee


thoracolumbar intervertebral disc herniation

eligibility information

  • MRI-confirmed acute singe site intervertebral disc herniation in thoracolumbar region
  • ‘Complete’ paralysis of back legs (total loss of movement)
  • Chondrodystrophic breed
  • Less than 15kg (33 lb)
  • Normal bloodwork
  • No other neurologic disease
  • Otherwise healthy​

Enrollment Deadline

Enrollment ends December 31, 2021

contact information

If you think your dog may qualify for this clinical trial, call the main hospital line at (970) 297-5000 to set up an appointment with urgent care. You can also contact the neurology clinical trials department at or (970) 297-4405 to get more information. Once your dog has been seen through urgent care we will be able to determine if he or she will be a candidate for this study and will discuss the next steps!

CSU ram head with green background
Neurology Clinical Trials