Meet Petey, our May 2017 Pet of the Month. Petey is a 10 year old, neutered male, Beagle, who we met in January 2017 for evaluation of significant neck pain which started at the end of September 2016. He had been on crate rest for nearly 4 months and his quality of life was not good. Several medications had been used to try to manage his discomfort, decrease inflammation and relax his muscles, but nothing seemed to provide lasting relief. He had also had some laser therapy treatment, but the benefits only seemed to last for a day. This poor fellow would just be walking along and suddenly cry out, stop and tremble.
On physical examination, Petey was found to have significant neck pain with extremely tense neck muscles. He also had moderate myofascial (muscular) back pain along his entire spine from C3-S1. Due to his inactivity and steroid use, he had gained quite a bit of weight and also had diffuse muscle atrophy, involving his thighs, shoulders and paraspinal muscles. X-rays taken at his regular veterinarian’s office showed some changes (multiple narrowed disc spaces) in his mid-back and calcification at his lumbosacral junction, but nothing obviously wrong in his neck.
Beagles are a breed which has a higher risk for intervertebral disc disease and that can affect their neck and also the rest of the back. Although no definitive diagnosis was confirmed, the x-rays and Petey’s clinical signs really suggested that this was his underlying problem. Referral to a neurologist and an MRI had been advised previously, but his family wasn’t able to pursue this. With Petey in front of us at his initial exam, we moved forward with a plan to improve Petey’s comfort level as our first priority and would later work on core muscle strength and weight loss when he felt better.
Petey was treated with massage, Pulsed ElectroMagnetic Field Therapy, Class IV laser therapy and acupuncture for a couple sessions and made great improvement in his comfort level. On his 3rd visit to Pawsitive Steps Rehab, his neck was visible thinner and his movement was significant improved so it was time to start exercises and focus on the weight loss plan. After 6 weeks of therapy, he was starting to pick up toys and play again.
Petey continues to have spring in his step and remains pain free. The weight loss will be an ongoing effort, which most of us can identify with because that always seems to take the longest! We are so proud of Petey and his family for how hard they work on his homework exercises.