Spinal Surgery

Veterinary Spinal Surgery in South Florida


A laminectomy surgery is performed by removing the top of the vertebra, the lamina, in order to gain access to the spinal cord. The surgeon is then able to gently remove the protruding or ruptured disk material (or tumor) compressing the bottom and/or side of the spinal cord and/or nerve roots. Laminectomy surgery is often performed to treat:

  • intervertebral disk disease (neck-large dogs)
  • intervertebral disk disease (lumbosacral region)
  • spinal tumor (and biopsy)


This is a type of laminectomy in which only a portion of the lamina is removed. The pedicle (side) of the vertebra is also removed allowing the surgeon to approach the spinal cord at a side angle. Hemilaminectomy is the most common type of decompressive spinal cord surgery and is frequently performed to treat:

  • intervertebral disk disease (back)
  • spinal tumor (and biopsy)

Vertebral Stabilizations

Vertebral stabilization surgeries are performed to repair fractures, stenosis or subluxations/luxations of the vertebrae. Fractures are primarily caused by trauma while stenosis is usually due to degenerative or congenital reasons. Subluxations/luxations are often caused by a malformation of the vertebrae (often congenital) or a problem with the ligaments which hold the vertebrae in place (usually congenital and/or traumatic). Pins, screws, and/or bone cement are used to fuse parts of a vertebra or multiple vertebrae together to fix the instability and alleviate pressure on the spinal cord. Diseases that may require this type of surgery are:

  • cervical spondylomyelopathy (CSM) or ‘wobbler’ syndrome
  • atlantoaxial subluxation
  • lumbosacral stenosis or cauda equina syndrome


Fenestration means “to make a window" and is a preventative procedure and is often performed in conjunction with a laminectomy, hemilaminectomy or ventral slot. The procedure involves removal of the degenerative center of the non-herniated discs in front of and behind the disk that has protruded/herniated. A window is cut in the annulus fibrosus of the disc followed by extraction of the degenerative nucleus pulposus. As the resected center of the disk scars, there is little or no effect on mobility. Although unlikely, there is still potential for future ruptures of the fenestrated disk(s). Fenestrations are commonly performed on patients with:

  • intervertebral disk disease (back)
  • intervertebral disk disease (neck)

Ventral Slot

Patients with spinal cord compression in the neck may require a ventral slot surgery, which is performed from the underside of the neck. Ventral slot surgery is commonly performed to treat:

  • intervertebral disk disease (neck)