Chica – Fractured Spine & Rear Limb Paresis



Meet Chica, our June 2016 Pet of the Month.  Chica is a 13 year old, Chihuahua, who suffered a severe spinal injury after falling off some steps on February 25, 2016.  Her spine was actually fractured through the body of her 10th thoracic vertebra, causing all the vertebra behind that point to drop lower and stretch her spinal cord.  As a result, she developed neurologic signs in her rear legs, so Chica had surgery to stabilize the fracture.  We met her on April 20th to assess her for rehabilitation therapy with the goal of regaining use of her rear limbs over time.

Since her initial visit with us, Chica has been making slow but steady progress.  She is having acupuncture weekly to help improve nerve communication and signals to her rear feet.  She has been using the underwater treadmill and does structured exercises to strengthen her core muscles and to improve her balance and body awareness.  Laser therapy and massage are part of her program too.  Additionally, Chica has been fitted with a rear end wheelchair to help in her rehabilitation therapy and mobility at home.  Our goal is to graduate her out of the cart over time. Please see our blog about carts as rehabilitation therapy tools for more information (“Burning Rubber, Pet Carts in Rehabilitation” from April 3, 2016).

So far, her rehab program has been going quite well.  She has lots of spunk and refuses to be held back!  Chica has started to rise up to a stand on her own, is squatting to urinate outside again and also taking some wobbly steps with her rear legs without assistance.  We are all so proud of Chica and her determination to get on with some fun – her family is doing a great job with her homework exercises and they make a great team!

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