Laser Disc Ablation

About Percutaneous Laser Disc Ablation
Percutaneous Laser Disc Ablation (PLDA) is a procedure for preventing thoracolumbar intervertebral disc herniation in dogs. This procedure is ideal for chondrodystrophic (dwarf) breeds like Dachshunds, Beagles, Bassett Hounds, French Bulldogs, and other small breeds predisposed to disc herniations. A study by Dugal et. al. at Oklahoma State University in 2016 showed that the procedure significantly reduced the chance of a future disc herniation from twenty-five percent down to ten percent, with 92.7 percent of clients rating their satisfaction with the procedure a nine or ten out of ten.

Dr. Gaemia Tracy of NorthStar VETS performs Percutaneous Laser Disc AblationCurrently, only four hospitals in the United States offer this procedure. Dr. Gaemia Tracy of NorthStar VETS is the only doctor on the east coast trained to perform PLDA.

Dogs eligible for this procedure must be an at-risk breed, and pain-free for the last two weeks. The procedure can be done prophylactically, meaning that a prior diagnosis of back pain is not necessary.

How it Works
Small spinal needles are inserted into the dog's disc space, where a fiber-optic laser as thin as a hair is inserted through the needle down into the nucleus of the disc. Energy through the laser liquefies the nucleus of the disc, reducing the chances of a future herniation. The procedure takes about an hour, and when it's done, there are no cuts or stitches in the dog's vertebrae, muscle or skin. That means that this minimally-invasive procedure significantly cuts down on recovery time. In fact, most dogs go home the next day for two weeks of rest and leash walks.

Next Steps
If your family veterinarian refers you to NorthStar VETS for this procedure, contact Jessica Maziarz at 609.259.8300 or at for more information and to schedule an appointment.