A lovely little 6 year old female Dachshund named Ella was referred to Northwest Surgeons with a history of a sudden onset loss of movement in her back legs.
An emergency consultation was arranged that day with Dr Lorenzo Golini, neurology specialist. When Lorenzo examined Ella he found that she could not feel her hind paws when pinched. This suggested a problem with her spinal cord, something which is common in the breed.
Intervertebral disc disease (IVDD) was suspected and an MRI scan advised to confirm. MRI is the gold standard for imaging the nervous system and allows us to look at the spinal cord in great detail. Read here about how MRI works.
At NWS we are fortunate to have an MRI scanner on site which enabled us to conduct an MRI scan immediately for Ella. Multiple images of her spine were obtained and within the hour we were able to see that she had a disc extrusion. The intervertebral discs are the shock absorbers of the spine. In simple terms, discs are like jam doughnuts. The outside is tough with a soft centre. If the outer layer weakens, it allows the disc material to leak out. This leaked disc material presses on the spinal cord, preventing it from transmitting nerve impulses. Ella’s problem was at vertebrae 11 and 12.
After discussions with her owners it was decided that surgery was her best option and would give her the best chance of being able to walk again. Ella was taken to surgery for a procedure to decompress the spine, known as a hemilaminectomy. This allowed Lorenzo to gently removed the stray disc material from the spine.
After disc surgery most patients spend around 10 days in the hospital undergoing rehabilitation. This involved pain management under the supervision of our anaesthetists and physiotherapy provided by our dedicated team of veterinary nurses. Read more about spinal surgery aftercare here.
Following her stay at Northwest Surgeons Ella was a happy little Daxie with a waggy tail and walked out of NWS to go home with her owners. For more success stories read about Daisy’s dodgy disc here.
This blog was written by Emma Lote, RVN. Emma is part of the advanced diagnostic imaging team and runs our MRI scanner.