Dixie presented to the clinic last year with a lameness in one of her forelimbs. Her wonderful owner also reported Dixie to be very out of sorts lately. Dixie was usually a very loving dog who was happy to receive barrels of attention but of late she was shying away from human contact and vocalised as if in pain.

On examination it was clear Dixie’s lameness was not her only problem. On gentle palpation of Dixie’s spine it was clear she was in a disproportionate amount of pain to explain a simple forelimb lameness and it was at this point Noel decided Dixie should have an MRI to take a closer look at her spine.

The MRI revealed Dixie to have a compression of her spinal cord, caused by the material that makes up the cushion between the bones of the spinal column spilling out and compressing the cord. The compression was in a precarious position high up in the spinal column and to address the compression would not be an easy feat.

As with any surgery the owner and vet must come to a conclusion of what is best for the patient. Dixie was in a significant amount of pain, which despite best efforts, was proving very difficult to manage with pain killers. In addition any additional leakage of disc material could leave Dixie permanently paralyzed. After a long discussion with Dixie’s owners we decided to proceed with surgery to try and remove the compression from around Dixie’s spinal cord. An intricate C2-C3 hemilaminectomy was carried out to create a window in the bone surround the spinal cord and gently tease out the offending material which was compressing the cord.  During the surgery the atmosphere in theatre was tense as there are major blood vessels which traverse this area of the spinal cord, one wrong move could cause major hemorrhage which could prove fatal!

Thankfully surgery passed without any complications and Dixie was wheeled back to recovery some two hours after she was brought into theatre! The surgery went well – Dixie was very weak after surgery – this was to be expected given the complexity of the surgery in such close proximity to the spinal cord. Our rehab team worked tirelessly to get Dixie back on her feet again and after intensive physiotherapy she was up and about again – pain free and enjoying life!

To learn more about the different types of spinal surgery we carry out please visit our website:http://www.fitzpatrickreferrals.co.uk/our-services/surgery/conditions/spine/acute-spinal-problem