Author: Ruth Jacques, RVN

Ruth qualified from Myerscough College in 2018. She trained and worked within a referral hospital before becoming a locum veterinary nurse. She has a special interest in the rehabilitation of neurological and intensive care patients and is a qualified veterinary nurse exercise rehabilitation therapist. Ruth is also passionate about fear-free veterinary care and has a Level 5 qualification in canine behaviour. She is particularly interested in emergency and critical care and empowering nurses through shared knowledge and training.


ABSTRACT Ventral slot surgery may be required in canine patients with intervertebral disc (IVD) herniation in the cervical spine. Causes of IVD herniation include trauma, neoplasia and discospondylitis. Herniation results in displacement of disc material into the vertebral canal, causing damage to or inflammation of the spinal cord. Patients can initially appear with varied presentations, from pain to recumbency. Management of the postoperative patient requires intensive monitoring and nursing care. Assessing the progression or deterioration of these patients is vital to allow further and potentially life-saving interventions to be implemented. Nursing care can include pain assessment and management; bladder management, such as expression and assisted posturing; exercise rehabilitation to allow return to normal movement; stress reduction, such as interaction; and enrichment and nutritional management, such as assisted feeding. This article discusses how these patients present, surgical interventions, assessment, post-anaesthetic recovery and ongoing monitoring. Postoperative complications are also discussed, along with how to identify these complications and what nursing care to implement for the benefit of the patient and its recovery.
Keywords ventral slot, canine, recumbent, nursing, intervertebral disc, IVD

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