Shy - Spinal arthritis and HL ataxia
Meet Shy, our July 2017 Pet of the Month! Shy is a 13-year-old, female spayed, Siberian Husky mix, who first came to see us in November 2016. At that time, she had been having hind limb weakness issues for several months. On x-ray, there was evidence of spinal arthritis noted in several locations along her back. The first thing we noticed about Shy when we met her was her abnormal gait. Her front limbs had a much different pattern from her hind limbs. Her front limbs took very short and quick steps, while her hind limbs had a longer and slower stride. We also took note that her hind limbs were ataxic (or uncoordinated/wobbly). Upon further examination, we also found arthritic changes in both of her carpal joints (wrists) and in her right hock. We also found some neurologic deficits in her hind limbs as well.
For Shy, we obviously want to strengthen her hind limbs, but we also want to focus on strengthening her core and shoulders muscles as well. Strengthening her core will help to support her spine and we need to make sure her shoulders are strong since she is depending on them a lot more. Another important goal for Shy’s rehabilitation is to increase the nerve signals in her hind limbs. Increasing the nerve signals can help to slow down further progression of neurologic signs and may improve the strength of her reflexes over time.
Shy has been doing well with her rehabilitation therapy and continues to get around pretty well. She is currently in a maintenance program to help keep her active and mobile. She has lots of spunk and is even keeping Cowboy, the newly added puppy at home, in line. We love it when Shy visits us as she always has lots to say!