Modern Medicine and Surgery
Jade is a beautiful, well-mannered, Staffie Cross JRT bitch who we have known well since 2006. She is a beautiful mannered dog with loving and caring owners. She was active and clearly enjoyed life with her super family and fellow pets!
All was well in her life until early November 2016, when she suddenly became semi-paralysed on her back legs. She could still stand but wasn’t aware of where her legs or feet were. We suspected a lesion affecting her spinal cord and nerves to the back legs – this could have been anything from a problem with one of her discs to having a spinal tumour.
Initially we treated her with anti-inflammatory pain killers and rest. There was no improvement over the next 24 hours so we also treated her with a powerful, anti-inflammatory steroid – dexamethasone. There being no improvement with her neurology we planned for Jade to have an MRI scan. For some dogs we can do special xrays using contrast liquids that we inject into the spinal canal, especially where cost is an issue, but MRI scans are the modern gold standards for these kinds of procedures.
The MRI scan showed that Jade had a disc that had ruptured in her spine. The discs are elliptical balls of cartilage with a soft centre whose normal job is to cushion and absorb concussion between the vertebrae. In Jade’s case the outer rim or shell had weakened and ruptured. This set up painful inflammation around the spinal cord and nerve roots going to the back legs. The thick, toothpaste like disc material was occupying space in the spinal canal and compressing the spinal cord further.
Jade went to surgery and a procedure called a hemi-laminectomy was performed. This involved removing bone from the vertebrae to access the affected area. The offending material was removed and the disc decompressed. Unfortunately, the pressure had restricted some of the blood supply to the spinal cord so there was a chance of some irreversible damage.
Jade recovered from the anaesthetic fine but was unable to stand. In the weeks following surgery, her owners became some of the most conscientious we know. They nursed Jade, carried out physiotherapy at home, took her for hydrotherapy, walked her with a supportive harness, treated her through a severe post-operative urinary tract infection and loved her as you would a child.
Most recently we saw Jade on New Year’s Eve and she brought a smile to everyone’s face to end a fabulous year at Vetcare. It looks like her spine is healing really well. She can now stand unaided, sit, walk with a little assistance and place her feet properly. We can’t wait to see what the next few weeks will bring.
It’s astounding what advances in modern Veterinary Science can achieve. Advanced imaging, spinal and brain surgery, hip, elbow and knee replacements are now common place. The treatments we have available for many cancers are in many cases curative or give greatly extended periods of excellent quality life. We routinely treat advanced heart, lung, kidney and liver diseases and have excellent results in the treatment of many, previously difficult to manage older pet diseases – arthritis, heart disease, diabetes, thyroid disorders, Cushing’s disease and brain aging conditions.