This dog presented to me a couple weeks back after being rescued by Old MacDonald Kennels & Animal Services. We didn’t know much about the dogs history other than apparently he had been hit by a car in the past. Hence, why he got the name ‘Crash’.
Crash was a very sweet boy and was very tough but he took really small steps with his hind legs and was hesitant to move. I did a very thorough assessment on him. His physical exam and neurologic exam were relatively normal but he did have a few abnormalities. He was very reluctant to move his hind legs and stood very hunched over. When I palpated his vertebrae mid back some of them mad a very loud crunching sound.
We opted to take radiographs (see image). There is a compression fracture of the 10th thoracic vertebrae with a kyphotic deformity (forward rounding) at the 10-11th thoracic vertebrae. This is not a new fracture and based on its appearance the body has started to lay down new bone to try to stabilize the area. Luckily, the damage does not seem to be putting pressure on the spinal cord because we do not see any hind limb neurological issues. If there was partial pressure on the spinal cord in this area, we would see rigidity to the hind legs and increased reflexes (its kind of the opposite of what you think it would be).
Because referral to a specialist was not an option, we opted to try pain management, anti-inflammatories, and cage rest for 2-3 weeks. The first couple days he did not seem to be responding to treatment and I had discussed euthanasia for quality of life reasons with the rescue if we don’t start to see improvement. We decided to trial some different pain medication and continue our ‘rest’ protocol. I AM SO HAPPY WE DID!
Crash came in today for his neuter and is doing significantly better! He may need pain medication in the future to help deal with flareups and it is likely that he will have pretty severe arthritis in his back in the future. But, for now, he is happy and healthy and searching for his fur-ever home!