Veterinary Neurology in Action- meet Frida!

frida3 This is Frida, she is a 3 year old mixed breed dog with a lot of spunk! She was born with a malformation in the bones surrounding her spinal cord and she always walked a little strangely since she was adopted from a local animal shelter.  Her owners did not know the full nature of the problem until she presented to our neurologist, Dr. Carrie Jurney for evaluation. It was immediately apparent to Dr. Jurney that something was wrong with her central nervous system, specifically her neck. Dogs have nervous systems similar to ours and they get many of the same diseases- slipped discs, meningitis, spinal cord and brain tumors, epilepsy. The central nervous system (the brain and the spinal cord) is difficult to examine as it is encased in bone and regular x-rays are often not helpful. Veterinary neurologist image this body system with advanced 3 dimensional imaging- either MRI scans or CT scans. Frida had an MRI scan showing where the problem was that was causing her sudden decrease in mobility- the bones in the front part of her vertebral column were malformed and the bones were pinching and pushing on her spinal cord causing pain and partial paralysis.

This is Frida's neck MRI scan.  The red arrow is pointing down at the pinching in her spinal cord.  The yellow arrow is pointing up at the bone that Dr. Jurney removed to relieve the pain

This is Frida’s neck MRI scan. The red arrow is pointing down at the pinching in her spinal cord. The yellow arrow is pointing up at the bone that Dr. Jurney removed to relieve the pain

Frida had neurosurgery last month.  First Dr. Jurney removed the malformed part of the vertebral body C2, the part that was removed is called the dens.  With the dens removed, there was no longer a connection between the first neck vertebral bone called C1 and the operated vertebral bone C2 so two bone screws were carefully placed to stabilize the area to prevent further spinal cord trauma.

This is an x-ray of Frida's neck just after surgery.  Her head is at the top of the picture and you can see her teeth clearly.  The arrows are showing the surgical screws placed to stabilize C1 and C2

This is an x-ray of Frida’s neck just after surgery. Her head is at the top of the picture and you can see her teeth clearly. The arrows are showing the surgical screws placed to stabilize C1 and C2

Frida came through surgery like a champ!  After surgery, Frida wears a neck bandage to prevent sudden head movements while the area heals. frida2 Here she is, 4 weeks after surgery and she can’t wait to get her bandage off! Her prognosis long term is very good.

Can I take off this bandage yet

Can I take off this bandage yet

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