Pet of the Month

Valentino aka “Tino” – Neck Surgery & Laryngeal Paralysis

Meet Valentino, a 5 year old, male Bernese Mountain Dog, who is our February 2019 Pet of the Month.  Tino, as he is affectionately known, came to Pawsitive Steps Rehabilitation in May 2018 to start rehabilitation therapy following ventral slot neck surgery to relieve symptoms due to intervertebral disc rupture between C6-C7 (6th & 7th cervical/neck vertebra).  Prior to his surgery, Tino was an active dog and competed in conformation and obedience. 

Tino had been having slowly progressing neurologic signs in the month prior to his surgery, which included ataxia (uncoordinated walking) and delayed proprioception responses in all feet.  Some of the neurologic signs improved quickly after surgery, but he had enough ongoing problems that rehabilitation therapy was definitely warranted.  In addition to the neurologic signs and his neck surgery, Tino was diagnosed with Laryngeal Paralysis when he was 2 years old and he had early arthritis in his hips and elbows.

Since Tino was having mild ataxia and had early arthritis in some joints when we met him, his rehabilitation program was tailored to his unique needs.  We would also need to pay attention to his breathing patterns during exercise because of his history of Laryngeal Paralysis.  Laryngeal Paralysis is a condition in which there is dysfunction of the recurrent laryngeal nerve resulting in paralysis of the muscles responsible for abducting (or opening) the arytenoids in the larynx (back of throat) during inspiration.  The decreased opening in the larynx limits the amount of air that can flow into the trachea and get down to the lungs. This condition is exacerbated in hot, humid weather and during stressful situations. In most cases, the cause of this dysfunction is unknown. Other nerves may also be affected over time, which can result in hind limb weakness and esophageal dysfunction. Diagnosis is made via a sedated laryngeal exam.  This condition is more commonly seen in older large breed dogs and is now called Geriatric Onset Laryngeal Paralysis and Polyneuropathy, aka GOLPP.  Tino is unique in that he was so young to be diagnosed with his laryngeal condition.

With all of Tino’s special circumstances, his rehabilitation program needed to address all of his needs.  His program would require slow and controlled exercises which would limit exertion and excessive panting due to his laryngeal problems.  His exercises needed to help strengthen his core muscles and also his limb muscles to help support his arthritic joints.  Additionally, we would need to use particular exercises to increase his body awareness and proprioception, especially with his rear limbs.  Tino loved to work and took to his exercises well.  He excelled in the underwater treadmill and obviously enjoyed is time in the water! 

Tino recently returned to the obedience and conformation ring at this year’s Mid-Winter Dog Classic.  Even though he didn’t win any ribbons, he had a blast!  He even got to be center of attention and represented the Bernese Mountain Dogs at AKC’s Meet the Breed event.  

Moving forward, Tino will need to continue his exercise program regularly to keep his muscles strong and support his hips and elbows.  Practicing his proprioceptive exercises regularly will be needed to keep his neurologic system in check, in case his laryngeal issues progress to involve other nerves over time like the older dogs with GOLPP.  Additionally, his family is quite aware to monitor his breathing when he is active because of his Laryngeal Paralysis, especially during walks in hot and/or humid weather. 

Windsor – Congenital Radial Hypoplasia of R Forelimb

Katie – R Achilles (“Gastroc”) Tear in Cat

Tessa – DJD with Hind Limb Neurologic Signs

Frosty – Forelimb Amputee with Bilateral Medial Patellar Luxation

Marley – Severe Left Hind Limb Lameness Following Multiple Wounds

Radar – Post-op MRIT Cruciate Surgery

Fiona – Rehab Following Bilateral Luxating Patella Surgery

Peanut - Orthosis Use for Management of L Paw (Metacarpal) Fractures

KaBoom – Multiple Protruding Discs & IVDD at C2-C3

Kona – Iliopsoas Strain turned Fitness Patient

Peyton – Neurologic Signs Involving All 4 Limbs (Cervical FCE)

Quincy - Episodes of Neck & L Shoulder Pain

Georgia – Medial Luxating Patellas

MacKenzie – Suspected FCE Affecting All Limbs

Lizzie – Arthritis and Weight Management

Bruno – HL Neurologic Signs, Degenerative Myelopathy

Peanut – Weight Loss during Rehab for 2 TPLO Surgeries

Russell – L Rear Limb Prosthesis

Shy - Spinal arthritis and HL ataxia

Bella – Journey Back from Bilateral Cruciate Injuries

Petey – Cervical Neck Pain & Weight Management

Mr. Belvidere – Rear Limb Neurologic Problems

Bella & Echo – Dock Diving Duo

Lucca - Orthosis Device for L FL Congenital Abnormality

Oliver – Chronic rear limb neurologic signs following back surgery

Brandy – Multiple Prolapsed Discs with a “Side of Arthritis”

Niki – Arthritis in Multiple Joints & Lots of Other Conditions too

Heckel – Post-op L TTA rehab & Agility Competitor

Finn – Assistance Dog with Spinal Arthritis and Muscle Atrophy

Joey – Conformation Competitor Returns to Action after TPLO Surgeries

Phoebe – Arthritis, Back & Neck Pain and an old CCL injury

Chica – Fractured Spine & Rear Limb Paresis

Indie – Bilateral Hip Dysplasia in a Young Dog

Tigger - R cruciate tear & a heart condition

Quigley - Unusual R Rear Limb Lameness

Boomer – Senior Agility Competitor

Marlo - Arthritis in Multiple Joints, Weight Loss Success Story

Charles J. Schnickelfritz - aka "Charlie" - R FL amputee

Nahanni - Severe arthritis in hips and lumbar spine

Roo, the Hopping Puppy - Unusual Front Limb Gait

Mason - Chronic Arthritis

Brunhilda - L HL house slipper prosthesis corrects 3rd limb for this kitty

Miss Daisy - R HL Prosthetic Device

Bodacious - post-op back surgery

Emma - L cruciate tear + IMHA/ITP

Chance - HL paresis

Vinny - L FL radial nerve damage

Sadie - L HL fractures with neurologic deficits

Doods - Post-op TPLO rehab in the canine athlete

Nema - R FL Orthotic Device

Lulu - L TPLO sx & Elbow Dysplasia

Faith - spinal traction injury

Ranger - FCE (Fibrocartilaginous Embolism)

Roy - R FL Congenital Abnormality & Prosthesis Patient

Bialy - OA, R Cruciate Tear, Wt Mgmt

Foxy - L FL lameness

Poppy - Fracture & MPL

Lady - IVDD/Disc Disease

Coco Channel - L HL amputation

Willow - Prosthesis for Congenital Limb Defect

Lucy - Lupus & Arthritis

Bailey - HL Neurologic Issues

Polar - Arthritis in Multiple Joints

Baby - Back Injury & Orthopedic Problems

Baxter - Spinal Luxation

Klara - Cruciate Sx & Disc Sx

Pebbles - Orthopedic & Neurologic Problems

Pixel - R Hock & R Stifle Sx