• Northern Illawarra Veterinary Hospital

Daisy's Spinal Surgery

Updated: May 20, 2020

Daisy is a beautiful mature golden retriever who was managing quite well with her arthritis through injections and anti-inflammatory tablets. However recently while boarding, she became much more lame, first in one one leg and then on the other. There was no injury or excessive exercise to explain her deterioration and the arthritis medication she was given did not seem to make a difference. Overnight Daisy took a turn for the worse and could not rise on her back legs at all.

Daisy was fortunate to see our fabulous new vet Sarah who has loads of experience, coming to us from a specialist and emergency centre in Sydney. Sarah was right on the case and diagnosed a spinal lesion isolated to the middle of Daisy’s back. These type of lesions can be from anything that disrupts the nerve fibres in the spine including a blood clot or other emboli, tumour, fracture, deformation or a bulging disc. Fortunately the most common cause is a bulging disc which can be treated. Importantly Daisy was brought in early for diagnosis and despite having no voluntary movement in her back legs, she still had some sensation in her toes.

Sarah discussed these findings with Daisy’s very dedicated owners and it was decided to whisk Daisy up to the Animal Referral Hospital in Sydney for advanced imaging in the hope that surgery could be performed. It was a huge relief to find that yes the problem was indeed from a bulging disk and Daisy was rushed into surgery to have the disc removed to relieve pressure on the spine before the nerves started to fail and she would be permanently paralysed.

It was with great pleasure we witnessed Daisy walk through our doors a few days ago making a spectacular recovery just 3 weeks after the surgery, with her usual smile on her face looking for pats and treats. Already Daisy is up for a 2 kilometer walk and will continue to improve in the weeks to come.

Daisy proves that being older is no barrier to making a full recovery from a serious injury. Older dogs can have trouble with mobility and it is not always from arthritis. We always have to consider other possibilities such as a bulging disc, nerve degeneration and especially in these parts, tick paralysis. Perhaps we will discuss more about ticks as the peak season arrives in spring.