An article written by Southeast Veterinary Neurology from when they helped the Skye Terrier, Foxy Lady with a neurological problem.
When Foxy Lady first arrived at SEVN, she was unable to walk and use her pelvic limbs. Foxy Lady was unable to move her pelvic limbs but was able to feel her toes. A subtle voluntary tail wag was present. Her spinal reflexes (flexor withdrawal and patellar) were normal in all four limbs. This is called ‘upper motor neuron non-ambulatory paraparesis’, or as they’d say during my residency in Orange Park, Florida: “waggin’ and draggin’”.
This tells us a few things:
This is a neurological problem; it’s not because of bad hips or a heart problem, etc. The problem is within her T3-L3 spinal cord. This is generally “between the front legs and the back legs” and is the most common place to have a spinal cord injury. The spinal cord injury is moderate to severe. On a scale of 1-5, Foxy Lady is a 3 (unable to walk, but can still voluntarily move the limbs and/or tail).
Despite the severity of her symptoms, many causes of spinal cord injury can improve with appropriate treatment. Possible causes included a slipped disk (intervertebral disc disease), inflammation (myelitis and meningitis), trauma, a spinal cord stroke, infection or a tumor.
In order to determine the cause, an MRI of Foxy Lady’s spine was performed which confirmed an intervertebral disc extrusion at L2-L3, causing compression of the spinal cord. Immediately following her MRI, spinal surgery was performed to remove the herniated disc material.
Since her surgery, Foxy Lady has regained the pep in her step! She is able to walk without assistance and is comfortable. Full recovery may take time, however her prognosis is excellent and the risk of recurrence is low.
Southeast Veterinary Neurology is on a mission to help 20,000 pets regain the ability to walk by 2025. We are grateful to Foxy Lady and her family for trusting us and for being part of our journey.