Betty Boop

Betty Boop

Anna brings in Betty Boop a tiny pug that lives with her sixteen brothers and sisters, a pack of rescued Chihuahuas. Betty Boop has lost control of her hind legs and is doubly incontinent. She’s had spinal surgery elsewhere, and made a temporary recovery, but her symptoms have returned. Facing the prospect of euthanasia, Anna’s brings her to Fitzpatricks, and is seen by Neurologist Colin Driver.

Their Story

Betty Boop lives with Anna and her sixteen other rescue dogs. For over five years, Anna has offered a home to Chihuahuas in need. Betty Boop came to join the family when Anna noticed how small she was compared to the rest of her litter, and decided to bring her home. Anna is a devoted and loving mum to all her dogs, and would do what was right and necessary for them to give them the best life possible.

The Problem

Betty Boop lives with Anna and her sixteen other rescue dogs. For over five years, Anna has offered a home to Chihuahuas in need. Betty Boop came to join the family when Anna noticed how small she was compared to the rest of her litter, and decided to bring her home. Anna is a devoted and loving mum to all her dogs, and would do what was right and necessary for them to give them the best life possible.

Treatment

When Colin examined her, he conducted a series of neurological tests. He explained that the combination of signs suggested spinal cord problems in her lower back, and a series of scans would help Colin further assess whether surgery would offer Betty and Anna any hope.

The MRI showed that in one space of the spinal cord there was an accumulation of fluid that was compressing the cord and causing Betty to be paralysed. Without surgery, Betty would eventually be totally unable to walk. But thankfully, Dr Colin had a plan.

In the surgery, Colin had to delicately open up the site of the issue. Relative to Colin (who stands at 6ft 4in!) Betty is tiny, which demanded all of Colin’s skills and expertise to carefully operate on the small dog. Spinal surgery always comes with risk, as one small error could be fatal. Once Colin had access to the buildup of fibrous webs around the spinal cord, he gently removed these adhesions using very fine hand tools. This allowed the spinal cord to re-inflate back to normal size. He then stitched the dura part of the membrane surrounding the spinal cord open to help prevent the blockage reforming, allowing spinal fluid to flow without obstruction. Using six pins and bone cement, Colin then fused three vertebrae to stabilise the spine. Finally, a thin layer of collagen derived from pig intestine was grafted over the opening of the dura to prevent spinal fluid from leaking.

I have terrible anxiety because I wonder what the future holds for her. So I’m just hoping that Fitzpatrick’s can offer her some hope and we can have a normal life

Outcome

Four days after surgery, when Colin was checking on Betty Boop, he was apprehensive, because surgery where you manipulate the spinal cord always has the risk of making the patient weaker, and only time would tell how Betty would recover. However it was good news for the little dog, and she was using her legs exceptionally well and Colin was delighted.

After a week of care and recuperation at Fitzpatrick’s, Anna finally got the call from Colin that Betty Boop was ready to go home. She couldn’t have been happier, and when the pair were reunited her face lit up ecstatically as she saw how well she was. At last she was able to see Betty Boop had a great and happy future ahead of her where for so long it had seemed uncertain.

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