Oliver – Chronic rear limb neurologic signs following back surgery


Meet Oliver, our January 2017 Pet of the Month.  We met Oliver shortly after his 2nd birthday, but he already had quite a medical history by then.  Oliver suffered a traumatic intervertebral disc herniation between his 12th and 13th thoracic vertebral bodies on March 27, 2015.  While recovering from surgery, radiographs showed luxation of Oliver’s spine at the surgical site.  His second surgery, on March 30, 2015, corrected the luxation using pins.  After a setback in his recovery, radiographs showed pin migration, which was causing his spine to become unstable again.  Oliver underwent his third surgery on April 3, 2015, and started rehabilitation shortly afterwards.

After reaching a plateau in his recovery, his family decided to seek out other rehabilitation options for him.  We met Oliver at our office on September 15, 2016, a full 18 months after his initial injury.  At that time, Oliver was still unable to stand for longer than a few seconds or walk without support.  He could not rise into a full stand without pulling himself up with his front legs.  He had been using a rear end wheelchair for over 1 year to help with his mobility.  Additionally, he had urinary incontinence problems, which were helped with belly bands.  Based on all of his prior history, the duration of time of his problems and his clinical status at that time, we had a frank discussion with his family explaining that his prognosis for additional clinical improvement was guarded at best.

With all that stated, Oliver and his family set out on a new adventure in rehab, hoping for the best.  After several months of work, Oliver is steadily improving and proving us all wrong.  He can now pull his legs underneath himself and push into a stand without using his front legs.  His gait remains abnormal – a type of “spinal walking”, with his rear legs following along at a different pace than his front legs.  However, his gait is becoming more fluid and he can take small strides, rather than stomp his feet.  He can stand longer all on his own.  He can also walk with very little to no support.  His wheelchair remains a valuable tool, but he spends a little more time getting around without it these days.  Oliver didn’t give up and his family didn’t either, so we have all learned something incredibly valuable from this bright boy.  We look forward to seeing what new milestones he strives for!

Check out Oliver's rehabilitation progress video on our YouTube channel by using the link here

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