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Murphy is a gorgeous 8-year-old male miniature schnauzer who presented to Hamilton Specialist Referrals as an urgent referral in April 2020. He had acute onset weakness in his left hindlimb, which had progressed to an inability to stand on the morning of assessment.


On initial examination with our neurology specialist, Murphy showed non-ambulatory paraparesis (left side worse than right) with absence of knuckling responses in both hindlimbs. The panniculus reflex was interrupted at the level of L3/4 and there was no apparent spinal pain.

Following discussions with his owner, Murphy was admitted to the hospital for pre-anaesthetic blood testing, followed by an MRI scan under general anaesthetic. The MRI showed an acute spinal cord injury at L1, likely a fibrocartilaginous embolism (FCE).


It was agreed for Murphy to stay with us in the hospital for regular physiotherapy and nursing care. After the first 24 hours in, Murphy was showing very positive signs of improvement and was able to stand with assistance.


He stayed with us for ongoing treatment for a further two days, by which time he was showing independent movement in both hindlimbs. At this stage he was discharged back home.

Since his discharge Murphy has been recovering well. He has continued ongoing rehabilitation with our brilliant physiotherapy team, attending follow up appointments in addition to continuing an exercise program at home under our guidance and with the help of his dedicated owners who have been delighted with his progress.

"There aren’t enough words to express how grateful we are that you were open and receiving emergencies when Murphy had his FCE. It’s amazing to see him back to doing a 4-mile walk, chasing his tennis ball and playing in the sea".

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