Morgan was an 11 year old female Shih Tzu mix when she was brought in with a problem. She was becoming tense, biting at her right shoulder, and then splaying out her front legs. Dr. Brooks performed a physical exam, which revealed that Morgan’s neck was painful to her when manipulated. Morgan was also unable to bear weight on all four legs, with her right side being worse than her left side. Dr. Brooks suspected that Morgan had a ruptured disc in her neck.
The disc is a cushion that is between the bones surrounding the spinal cord. When a disc ruptures, it can press on the spinal cord, blocking the signal from the brain to the legs. In Morgan’s case, this prevented her from being able to walk. This type of condition is considered an emergency and requires surgery. A CT scan is necessary to definitively diagnose a ruptured disc and tell us exactly where the disc has ruptured, so that we know where to focus on during surgery.
A CT scan was performed on Morgan, which confirmed the ruptured disc in her neck and compression around the spinal cord. Morgan was taken to surgery, where Dr. Haase performed a “ventral slot decompression.” During this procedure, the ruptured disc materially was carefully removed so that it would no longer be pressing on Morgan’s spinal cord.
The surgery was a success, but after this type of surgery there can often be inflammation of the spinal cord. Because of this, we typically don’t see improvement immediately after a ventral slot decompression surgery. Morgan was having trouble walking so she was hospitalized for several days. Our doctors and staff took great care for her during this important initial recovery period and when she went home Morgan was a lot stronger. Still, she had some weakness in her legs.
Morgan returned for a recheck exam two weeks after the surgery. By this time, Morgan was much stronger and able to bear weight and walk on all four of her legs. She didn’t have any neck pain and she was very comfortable. When the sutures from her surgery were removed, we were glad to see that her incision had healed completely.
At Morgan’s one month recheck, she was back to normal! She was running around and very comfortable again, even when moving her head around in all directions.
[more here] A good initial diagnosis was confirmed quickly with a CT scan, and our skilled surgery team and hospital staff all helped get Morgan on the road to a full recovery. [more here]