Happy Friday! Everyone meet Dutchess, a fearless 6-year old Dachshund. For the last few months she had been suffering from hind limb ataxia. Hind limb ataxia is a condition relating to a sensory dysfunction which produces loss of coordination of the limbs. In most cases, neurosurgery is required to correct this.
Dutchess appeared to be very weak and was brought in by her parents to see Dr. Christopher Potanas, one of the most recent additions to our team of veterinary surgeons. He carefully discussed the best available options for Dutchess with her owners. Even though neurosurgery was recommended, her owners were a bit hesitant and decided to give it some more thought. In the meantime, Dutchess went back home with medication and with strict orders of cage rest.
The day after the consultation, Dutchess’ worried owners called us. She seemed to be in a lot of pain and her hind legs suddenly stopped responding. She was rushed into MVS to get immediate medical attention. Because of Dutchess’ history, Dr. Potanas already knew that this was a result of a spinal cord lesion. He performed a CT scan to precisely locate the lesion. A myelogram was also performed, which is a diagnostic imaging procedure which gives us a closer look at the spinal canal. The myelogram confirmed that neurosurgery was necessary to help Dutchess walk again. After reviewing her results with her owners, Dutchess’ neurosurgery was scheduled for the following day.
Dr. Potanas performed a successful hemilaminectomy, which is a surgery that helps alleviate the symptoms of an irritated nerve root in the spine. In Dutchess’ case, it was the shifting of her spinal discs that was causing spinal compression, squeezing one of her nerve roots. This eventually led to the unresponsiveness of her hind legs and to correct it, Dr.Potanas had to decompress her spinal cord.
These types of delicate procedures involve a careful and long recovery. A few days after her surgery, Dutchess was able to hold herself up briefly with only her front limbs. However, two weeks after the surgery, her owners brought her in for her recheck and with marvelous news. Dutchess recovered quite quickly and was already trying to run!