Wellington

Wellington, a lovely 9 month old Labrador, suffered acute onset paralysis following high rise injury after falling from a window. After presenting with acute onset paralysis, radiographs were taken revealing a fractured lumbar spine.

He was swiftly referred to the neurology team here at Hamilton Specialist Referrals. Initial examination on arrival showed Wellington was suffering from bilateral pelvic limb paralysis with intact pain sensation in the pelvic limbs, but absent tail sensation. Neurolocalisation was determined as T3-Cox spinal cord segments and/or nerve roots.

MRI and CT of the thoracolumbar spine revealed a comminuted oblique fracture of the L5 vertebral body and dorsal luxation of the caudal part of the L5. This resulted in severe stenosis of the spinal canal and resultant pressure on the spinal cord.

Wellington underwent emergency surgery with Dr John Parker DipEVNC and Dr Ricardo de Sousa DipECVS the same day. Reduction and fixation of the vertebral body fracture was performed using an SOP plate placed on the left lateral aspect of the vertebral bodies L4-L6.

The surgery was successful and Wellington showed rapid improvement in pelvic limb function following the operation. We’re delighted to say he was discharged a week later, fully continent and with continuing improvement in ambulatory function; though a degree of bilateral femoral lower motor neurone paresis is still present. However, his tail remains paralysed and tail sensation is absent.

We’ll be following up with Wellington in a month, while he continues a controlled exercise and physiotherapy routine at home. The prognosis for return of independent ambulation is good, though he many not regain tail function.

Head of neurology, John Parker, said “Wellington sustained a very severe and complex spinal fracture. Thanks to swift action we were able to stabilise the fracture site the same day. The rapid relief of spinal cord compression has resulted in a quite remarkable turnaround. Seeing Wellington on his feet again so quickly is fantastic, and we are hopeful he’ll continue to regain increasing hindlimb function.”

I can’t believe how far Wellington has come in such a short time. Many people are surprised to see how well he is walking only a couple of weeks after the surgery to fix his vertebra. Although a bit wobbly, he is now able to walk unaided. I am so grateful that he was able to be saved as I thought I would lose him after such a horrible accident.

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A Day In The Life Of... A Senior Imaging Nurse