vertebral columnMy staff has encouraged me to share specific cases with you as a part of this column, so here is the first one (names changed to protect the innocent!) About two months ago, Butch was taken to a local emergency clinic late at night because he seemed a little wobbly on his back legs. The examination of this 6 year old Australian Shepherd seemed to implicate his spinal cord, but he was stable and thus was given some conservative treatment. By morning he was unable to walk. Butch ™s owners, who had never been to Animal Care Clinic before, called to see if we could help. He was rushed in as an emergency and our doctors quickly could see that he had suffered severe damage to his spinal cord. Based on how quickly the problem had progressed, we suspected a ruptured disc. Intervertebral discs are like little jelly donuts that sit in between vertebral bodies and just under the spinal cord. If one ruptures, the œjelly  can ooze up into the spinal canal and put pressure on the cord. If the pressure can be relieved before nerves in the cord die, the problem can be resolved. Because Butch had feeling in his back legs, we knew there was hope for recovery. Our doctors and nursing team immediately ran lab samples in-house and started Butch on anti-inflammatory medications, while contacting Veterinary Neurologic surgeons and preparing them for Butch ™s arrival. He had surgery that day in the San Jose area. Three discs had ruptured. Butch is now walking and doing very well.

Butch was lucky to have such dedicated and observant owners. There is nothing more rewarding to the people of ACC than to see such a sad situation turned around to full recovery via teamwork. We ask you to join our team as we work to create health for your pets.

By Bonnie Markoff, DVM, ABVP