On Wednesday, June 25, 2008, three days after the picnic, Vanessa was seen
by a neurologist at Tufts. Although she still couldn't walk, she appeared to
be moving her hind legs ever so slightly, and was definitely squatting to
pee, and maintained deep pain reflexes, so the board at GSRNE agreed to
expend some resources on her. Could it be true that she was showing some
improvement on the steroids, or was it just wishful thinking to think she
could ever walk again?
Dr. Sheila Carrera met us in the lobby, where Vanessa was waiting in her
buggy. She said she loved the buggy, but later told me she had little hope
for a dog who was arriving with a several week history of paralysis. After
her exam, she told us that differential diagnoses included disc disease and
a tumor, being at the top of the list, but that other causes including
or infectious etiologies or Degenerative Myelopathy could not
be ruled out.
They proceeded with blood work and chest x-ray, which were normal, and kept
her for the MRI under anesthesia. She ruled in for multilevel degenerative
disc disease with spinal cord compression at Lumbar2-3 and Lumbar3-4. The
surgery she had was called a Hemilaminectomy, and a large amount of disc
material was found and removed from underneath the spinal cord that was
causing severe spinal cord compression.
Vanessa recovered in the hospital for a week with good pain management a
priority. She is now home with me on strict exercise restriction, pain
management, steroid taper, and physical therapy.
"Come on Vanessa, we're going to see if the neurologists at Tufts can help
"Not sure if I should wish big or just hope I can hold my bladder most
"I think that jerking was a GOOD thing, wasn't it, doc?"
"You're making the doctor very happy, Vanessa."
"Ah, the pee squat, a sight to behold!"
"Time to get some pictures and see if we can help you."