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Maumee Valley Veterinary Clinic, Acute Spinal Injury, Australian Shepherd

Author: Dr. Nahrwold, Maumee Valley Veterinary Clinic, Woodburn, IN

Signalment: Canine, 4.5 yrs., F/I, Australian Shepherd, “Sallie”.

History: Pt. presented after owners were called home from vacation by their pet caretaker after finding her exhibiting rigid front legs, could not get up, and the head and neck were stiffened backward, similar to a Schiff-Sherrington posture.

Diagnostics and Exam Findings: The patient exhibited paresis of the front legs and she was reluctant to allow her head to be moved freely. All four feet had deep pain reflexes, but her front feet knuckled over. Radiographs and clinical signs supported a diagnosis of neck or head injury consistent with possible trauma (Owners noted their bird house had fallen while they were away, possibly striking their dog). Blood chemistries and CBC were normal.

Laser Treatment: 12 J/cm², utilizing preset Acute Musculoskeletal protocol, delivered 4800 total joules to the cervical area (400 cm²) in contact utilizing the large deep tissue applicator in a circumferential manner from all aspects.

Frequency of Treatment: Initially daily for 3 days, then every three days for three treatments, then weekly for four weeks. (14 treatments in total)

Other Treatments: The patient initially received phenobarbital and diazepam, but showed minimal improvement the following morning. Other standard of care treatments, including mannitol, dexamethasone sodium phosphate, and prednisone.

Comments: “After 48 hours the only improvement was front leg rigidity being less, but the dog could not get up yet. At this time we assumed a neck injury based on radiographs and lack of noticeable improvement. We elected to try laser therapy. Response to treatment consisted of being able to stand, walk and run again, eventually without knuckling on front left leg. A total of 14 treatments achieved this, over a 7 week treatment period” – Dr. Narhwold

About the author(s)

Dr. Nahrwold, Maumee Valley Veterinary Clinic, Woodburn, IN

July 2019
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