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A Controlled Clinical Study of Intensive Neurorehabilitation in Post-Surgical Dogs with Severe Acute Intervertebral Disc Extrusion

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Faculty of Veterinary Medicine, Lusófona University, Campo Grande, 1300-477 Lisboa, Portugal
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Animal Rehabilitation Center, Arrábida Veterinary Hospital, Azeitão, 2925-583 Setúbal, Portugal
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CIISA—Centro Interdisciplinar-Investigação em Saúde Animal, Faculdade de Medicina Veterinária, Av. Universidade Técnica de Lisboa, 1300-477 Lisboa, Portugal
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Superior School of Health, Protection and Animal Welfare, Polytechnic Institute of Lusophony, Campo Grande, 1300-477 Lisboa, Portugal
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Faculty of Veterinary Medicine, University of Lisbon, 1300-477 Lisboa, Portugal
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editor: Robert E. Meyer 
Animals 2021, 11(11), 3034; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani11113034
Received: 4 September 2021 / Revised: 16 October 2021 / Accepted: 20 October 2021 / Published: 22 October 2021
(This article belongs to the Section Veterinary Clinical Studies)
This study explores the potential intensive neurorehabilitation plasticity effects in post-surgical paraplegic dogs with severe acute intervertebral disc extrusion aiming to achieve ambulatory status. The intensive neurorehabilitation protocol translated in 99.4% (167/168) of recovery in deep pain perception-positive dogs and 58.5% (55/94) in deep pain perception-negative dogs. There was 37.3% (22/59) spinal reflex locomotion, obtained within a maximum period of 3 months. Thus, intensive neurorehabilitation may be a useful approach for this population of dogs, avoiding future euthanasia and promoting an estimated time window of 3 months to recover.
This retrospective controlled clinical study aimed to verify if intensive neurorehabilitation (INR) could improve ambulation faster than spontaneous recovery or conventional physiotherapy and provide a possible therapeutic approach in post-surgical paraplegic deep pain perception-positive (DPP+) (with absent/decreased flexor reflex) and DPP-negative (DDP) dogs, with acute intervertebral disc extrusion. A large cohort of T10-L3 Spinal Cord Injury (SCI) dogs (n = 367) were divided into a study group (SG) (n = 262) and a control group (CG) (n = 105). The SG was based on prospective clinical cases, and the CG was created by retrospective medical records. All SG dogs performed an INR protocol by the hospitalization regime based on locomotor training, electrical stimulation, and, for DPP, a combination with pharmacological management. All were monitored throughout the process, and measuring the outcome for DPP+ was performed by OFS and, for the DPP, by the new Functional Neurorehabilitation Scale (FNRS-DPP). In the SG, DPP+ dogs had an ambulation rate of 99.4% (n = 167) and, in DPP, of 58.5% (n = 55). Moreover, in DPP+, there was a strong statistically significant difference between groups regarding ambulation (p < 0.001). The same significant difference was verified in the DPP dogs (p = 0.007). Furthermore, a tendency toward a significant statistical difference (p = 0.058) regarding DPP recovery was demonstrated between groups. Of the 59 dogs that did not recover DPP, 22 dogs achieved spinal reflex locomotion (SRL), 37.2% within a maximum of 3 months. The progressive myelomalacia cases were 14.9% (14/94). Therefore, although it is difficult to assess the contribution of INR for recovery, the results suggested that ambulation success may be improved, mainly regarding time. View Full-Text
Keywords: spinal cord injury; locomotor training; functional electrical stimulation; transcutaneous electrical SC stimulation; 4-aminopyridine; neurorehabilitation; acute dogs spinal cord injury; locomotor training; functional electrical stimulation; transcutaneous electrical SC stimulation; 4-aminopyridine; neurorehabilitation; acute dogs
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MDPI and ACS Style

Martins, Â.; Gouveia, D.; Cardoso, A.; Carvalho, C.; Coelho, T.; Silva, C.; Viegas, I.; Gamboa, Ó.; Ferreira, A. A Controlled Clinical Study of Intensive Neurorehabilitation in Post-Surgical Dogs with Severe Acute Intervertebral Disc Extrusion. Animals 2021, 11, 3034. https://doi.org/10.3390/ani11113034

AMA Style

Martins Â, Gouveia D, Cardoso A, Carvalho C, Coelho T, Silva C, Viegas I, Gamboa Ó, Ferreira A. A Controlled Clinical Study of Intensive Neurorehabilitation in Post-Surgical Dogs with Severe Acute Intervertebral Disc Extrusion. Animals. 2021; 11(11):3034. https://doi.org/10.3390/ani11113034

Chicago/Turabian Style

Martins, Ângela, Débora Gouveia, Ana Cardoso, Carla Carvalho, Tiago Coelho, Cátia Silva, Inês Viegas, Óscar Gamboa, and António Ferreira. 2021. "A Controlled Clinical Study of Intensive Neurorehabilitation in Post-Surgical Dogs with Severe Acute Intervertebral Disc Extrusion" Animals 11, no. 11: 3034. https://doi.org/10.3390/ani11113034

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