George and his Paralysis

This is George, a 6yr old Shih Tzu who was admitted to our neurology department for having progressive weakness, ataxia and some episodes of dragging rear legs. George had a very sudden onset of his neurological symptoms, which unfortunately is very common.

On a Thursday he began having hind limb weakness and ataxia, on Friday it was worse and he began limping as well, on Saturday George could barely stand or walk. George went into his veterinarian and his doctor noted that he had decreased deep pain perception, motor function and anal tone and he was barely ambulatory. His doctor recommended a referral to a neurologist for further evaluation.

Once evaluated, Dr. Wolf determined that it was in George’s best interest to do an MRI to determine the cause of his hind limb weakness. The family agreed and the showed a disc prolapse at L1-2 on the left side. George was a great surgical candidate and his family decided to proceed. He underwent a left hemilaminectomy from T13-L2 to remove the herniated disk material and decompress the spinal cord.

George”s surgery went great! There were no peri-operative complications. His post-op status was great! George is ambulatory with greatly improved paraparesis and ataxia. His deep pain sensation is intact in all limbs and he was not painful. Dr. Wolf gave George a good prognosis for return of neurologic function to the limbs since deep pain sensation is intact. George went home with instructions for cage confinement for 2 weeks and he should only be taken out on a harness. This confinement time is needed to allow the surgical site to heal. He is also not allowed to play rough, attempt stairs or jump on/off furniture because they pose a great risk for injuring another disc. His family was also given instructions on physical therapy exercises they can be doing at home with George to facilitate recovery.

Two weeks later at George’s staple removal he showed great improvement. His neurological symptoms had greatly improved and his prognosis for continued recovery was good. Dr. Wolf was very pleased with his progress and said there was no need for additional rechecks.