'Happy' Cervical Spine Case Study

'Happy' is a 90-pound female Rottweiler, who was brought to her veterinarian in late December 2012 with severe back pain after being in an automobile collision.  She was limping on her front legs, and had decreased activity from her discomfort and pain.  Her veterinarian thought the problem was in the right front leg, shoulder area, or a neck problem.  The x-rays were inconclusive although the cervical spine was suspected.  She was treated with pain medication, anti-inflammatory medication, and sent home. 

In early January, her problems had not resolved and she came to Veterinary Specialists of CT to be examined.  The symptoms were worse and she presented with more deficits in her ability to walk normally.  In fact, she had a 'chimpanzee's walk' in that her front legs buckled and her paws rolled over and underneath her wrists. She deteriorated and became paralyzed or a quadriplegic.  She was medically treated with urinary and respiratory support to prevent complications and pneumonia in the hopes that with time, the paralysis would resolve on it's own. 

After a few days of no improvement, the veterinary surgeon met with Happy's people to discuss options.  Her people did not want to consider euthanasia until a MRI scan was performed to see if a disc was pressing into the spinal cord or if there were other problems causing the paralysis.  An MRI exam was done and as suspected, there was a herniated disc and disc material bulging into the disc space, which was most likely causing the paralysis. 

Surgery was performed in mid-January and was successful!  She stayed at the center for two-weeks for rehabilitation.  She was standing three days after surgery and walking 5 days after surgery.  It has been over two years since her ordeal and 'Happy' is healthy and happy living a wonderful life with her loving people.  Not only did she survive being a quadriplegic but she is also a cancer survivor.  Truly a miracle dog, which would not have been possible without the dedication of her people, the expert surgical intervention, and the high-resolution MRI exam performed by Companion MRI.

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