Mission Viejo Animal Neurosurgery

Spinal Fracture Repair

Unfortunately, active pets are more prone to injury. A spinal fracture, however, is much more serious than a broken limb or sprained ligament. Bone fragments from the accident can pinch and damage important spinal nerves, leading to the dysfunction of other parts of the body. If your pet fractures their spine, take them to the emergency pet hospital immediately. The veterinary surgeon will be able to alleviate the pain and treat the problem early on to circumvent any long-term damage. There are three ways to treat spinal fractures:

  • Vertebroplasty
  • Kyphoplasty
  • Spinal fusion surgery

Skull Fracture Repair

High impact accidents like car crashes or falling from great heights can result in a skull fracture. A break in the bone of the skull will most likely heal itself, but there are times when surgical intervention is needed. The veterinary surgeon can guide and speed up the healing process by removing fragments of the skull and prescribing pain relief medication.

Foramen Magnum Decompression/Cranioplasty (for COMS/Chiari malformation)

Cranioplasty is the corrective surgery of a bone defect in the skull from an injury or previous operation. The veterinary surgeon can restore the skull with bone, titanium, synthetic substitute, or acrylic. This procedure can protect your pet and improve neurological function. If you notice your animal’s head is unusually shaped, gets frequent headaches, or suffers from personality disorder, consult your veterinarian for a diagnosis.

Atlantoaxial Stabilization

The atlantoaxial joint lies between the first and second vertebrae. When there is excessive movement between these two vertebrae from trauma, this abnormality may result in an atlantoaxial instability. If the spinal cord or surrounding nerve roots are involved, there can be neurological side effects. The veterinary neurosurgeon can stabilize the atlantoaxial region with surgery.


A craniotomy, or opening of the skull, could be essential for many types of surgery. Our doctors now have access to stereotactic neuronavigation, so they have more control and flexibility over the procedure than ever before.

BrightCare Animal Neurology is dedicated to providing attentive, quality care to all its patients. Give us a call if your pet was involved in an accident and needs immediate attention. Our team of veterinary specialists and neurosurgeons will be able to diagnose and operate when you need them.

Our veterinary neurosurgeon, Dr. Ali Gorgi has had years of experience successfully operating on animals and nursing them back to care. His research focuses specifically on animal neurology, so he has a comprehensive knowledge of how to surgically treat pets with spinal or neurological disorders.

Intervertebral Disc Surgery

The intervertebral disc is a fibrocartilaginous material that rests between each vertebrae. It serves to protect and absorb the shock in the spinal column during physical activity. When the intervertebral disc is moved out of place, it can press on nerves and make simple movements extremely painful. This is also known as a herniated disc.Some patients who suffer from a herniated disc can be treated with non-surgically with physical therapy and pain suppressants, but there are situations when surgery is necessary. In this case, the veterinarian can remove the damaged intervertebral disc and replace it through a small incision.Types of intervertebral disc surgery include:

  • Hemilaminectomy for thoracolumbar spine (back)
  • Ventral slot for cervical spine (neck)
  • Dorsal laminectomy for lumbar or cervical spine

Lumbosacral Surgery

Pain in the lower back, also known as sciatica, is usually caused by nerve root pinching. The veterinarian can decompress this area by removing the small portion of bone that is irritating the nerve root. Another solution to this problem is by performing a spinal fusion surgery. This involves grafting the bone to stop motion at the vertebral segment that contains the pinched nerve.

Canine Cervical Arthroplasty (artificial disc)

DAWS or Disc Associated Wobbler Syndrome is another spinal-related disorder that affects the cervical canal and causes spinal cord compression. This can result in the disc degeneration, spinal instability, pain, and the loss of mobility. At BrightCare Animal Medical Center, we can replace the disc with an artificial implant to relieve pressure, decompress the vertebrae, and stabilize the spine.

Surgical Treatment of Wobbler Syndrome

Another way to treat Wobbler’s Syndrome is with a dorsal laminectomy. This is a procedure to expand the narrowed vertebral canal and reduce cord compression of the lumbar spine. The vet may also recommend removing disc material if it is bulging and causing discomfort.

Surgical Removal of Brain and Spinal Tumors

Using stereotactic neuronavigation, our veterinary surgeons can now perform less invasive brain and spinal tumor removal with more accuracy and precision. If there is a sign of a malignant tumor from diagnostic testing, the veterinary surgeons will create a small hole in the bone and carefully remove the tumor to prevent further damage.

Ventriculoperitoneal Shunt (for hydrocephalus)

Hydrocephalus is the accumulation of cerebrospinal fluid in the ventricles within the brain. Normally, cerebrospinal fluid helps cushion the brain and expel waste, but too much can “bloat” the ventricles and place undue pressure on the brain. This can lead to damaged brain tissue and loss of brain function. To prevent brain damage, the veterinarian can surgically place a ventriculoperitoneal shunt inside the brain’s ventricle to direct fluid away from the brain and reestablish a regular flow of cerebrospinal fluid.