Acta Vet. Brno 2022, 91: 189-199

Hypothermia as a potential remedy for canine and feline acute spinal cord injury: a review

Igor Šulla1, Slavomír Horňák2, Vladimír Balik3

1University of Veterinary Medicine and Pharmacy, Department of Morphological Disciplines, Košice, Slovakia
2University of Veterinary Medicine and Pharmacy, Small Animal Clinic, Košice, Slovakia
3World of Health Hospital, Department of Neurosurgery, Michalovce, Slovakia

Received September 27, 2021
Accepted February 1, 2022

Severe spinal cord injury (SCI) resulting in permanent sensory-motor and autonomic dysfunction caudal to a damaged spinal cord (SC) segment is a catastrophic event in human as well as in veterinary medicine. The situation of paraplegic/tetraplegic people or animals is further impaired by serious complications and often displays an image of permanent suffering. Therapeutic hypothermia (TH) has shown neuroprotective capacity in numerous experimental and several clinical studies or case reports. Hence, the method draws increasing attention of neuroscientists as well as health care workers. While systemic TH is a too complex procedure for veterinary practice, local application of TH with a reduced risk of the whole body temperature fluctuations and minimal side effects can become one of the therapeutic tools considered in the treatment of acute traumatic SCIs in bigger animals, especially when surgical decompression of spinal medulla and vertebral column reconstruction is indicated. Still, additional large prospective randomized studies are essential for the standardization of therapeutic protocols and the introduction of the method into therapeutic armamentarium in canine and feline spinal traumatology. The research strategy involved a PubMed, MEDLINE (Ovid), EMBASE (Ovid), and ISI Web of Science search from January 2000 to July 2021 using the terms “canine and feline spinal cord injuryˮ, “hypothermiaˮ, and “targeted temperature managementˮ in the English language literature; also references from selected studies were scanned and relevant articles included.


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