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Poppy the Pomeranian

Poppy the 5-year-old Pomeranian had been her usual cheerful self when the owners went out for dinner. When they arrived home a few hours later, they were shocked to find her collapsed and struggling to stand up. With some help, she could just make it to the garden, but she repeatedly collapsed on her front legs. She was rushed to her local vet (Bracken Veterinary Centre) and transferred to Hamilton Veterinary Specialists the same evening for further assessment.

Poppy was unable to stand and walk independently when she arrived. Evaluation by one of the neurology team indicated a spinal cord problem in her neck. Since her condition was by this time stable, she was kept comfortable overnight and underwent an MRI scan the following morning.


The MRI scan showed intervertebral disc disease. Complicating matters, several of Poppy’s discs were bulging into the spinal canal, with the spinal cord itself markedly compressed at two sites in her neck. After weighing up the pros and cons of medical management and surgery, a decision was made to operate, with Poppy undergoing surgery at both sites.

The approach to dogs with disc protrusions in the neck is from the underside, with a window created through the disc and adjacent bone, enabling the prolapsed portion of disc to be removed. It is crucial that the window is large enough to remove the disc but not so big that the spine is weakened by the procedure, which can create serious problems. In Poppy’s case, her small size and the need for a double operation significantly increased the risk. However, the procedure went smoothly and Poppy was sent home a couple of days later, still slightly unsteady but walking without support and showing no signs of pain. See the video of Poppy taken two weeks after surgery below.

Poppy has been coming in for regular hydrotherapy with our rehabilitation team and we are very pleased with her progress.

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