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