Disc Disease (IVDD)-After acute paralysis and back surgery- Rue (Rue update-Nov 15)and Peika are “Walking the Line” again.

By November 16, 2015Interesting Cases
Pet Surgery

We are please to share Peika’s ( a Shih Tzu, female, D.O.B. April 15, 2006 ) and Rue’s story (a Coton De Tulear, female D.O.B September 13, 2011) who both have experienced thoracolumbar disc disease with spinal cord compression, pain, hind leg paralysis and expedient recovery after back surgery here at our Mississauga Hospital/Clinic. Surgical  intervention was the best choice for both these dogs as both had been staged Grade 4 paraplegics. This means the inability to move hind legs (non ambulatory) but still with nociception in place (the ability to feel pain). Surgery within the shortest time period 24 to 72 hours after the acute insult and major neurological dysfunction gives the best prognosis for a full recovery. This is what happened here in both these pets. The ability to stand followed by the ability to walk somewhat was within 24 hours to 5 days in Peika’s and Rue’s cases respectively.

Rue and Peika are typical family pets who live great lives, live for the moment, cherish exercise and thrive on family affection.

Rue-Media Disc T12-13 IVDD web

Rue’s survey radiographs indicate a suspect lesion at T12-13

Peika Henderson Survey T13-L1 Web YES

Peika’s survey radiographs with a suspect lesion at T13-L1


Rue #3_ mediaSzostok DYE extradural lesion

Rue’s Myelogram: Confirming a compressive lesion at T12-13

Peika_Henderson  YES DYE web T13-L1

Peika’s Myelogram: Confirming a compressive lesion at T13-L1


Note: The #’s below correspond to findings on Rue’s survey radiographs above.

The survey radiographs of both patients have evidence of disc disease as follows:

1) Narrowing of the disc space

2) Narrowing of the intervertebral foramen

3) Collapsing of the articular facet(s)

4) Increase density (calcified disk) of disk material at the site or adjacent disk spaces

The myelograms of both patients are excellent and identify the problem area precisely:

1) Dye in the columns which is in the subarachnoid space (meninges) around the spinal cord.

1) Elevation of the dye in the ventral column

2) Narrowing or absence of contrast material through the ruptured disc area

In both these cases we were able to not only identify the problem area on survey radiographs but confirm precise compression of the spinal cord using contrast dye by performing a L4-5 lumbar myelogram.  Surgical dorsolateral hemilaminectomies + fenestration of the specific problem disc were performed immediately following confirmation in both cases.

Video 1 show Rue with no ability to walk minutes before having her back surgery.

Video 2 shows Peika 48 hours after back surgery with the ability to stand and take steps forward.

Video 3 shows Peika 21 days after back surgery demonstrating mobility without pain.

Key Points;

-Chondrodystrophoid breeds of dogs such as Rue and Peika are more prone to disc disease.

-Grades 1 and 2 are good candidates for conservative/medical management including the use of Class IV laser therapy

-All severe Grade 3,4,5 disc cases should be regarded as surgical emergencies

-Neurological grading of disc disease is one critical determinant as to the ideal treatment plan.

Grade1-no deficits/pain only, reluctancy to move

Grade 2-paresis/walking-wobbliness with mild ataxia but does not fall

Grade 3-paresis not walking, falls, an inability to bear weight

Grade 4-paraplegic with deep pain sensation,cannot move legs (no motor function) even when supported (non ambulatory), urinary incontinence

Grade 5-parplegic with no pain sensation (nociception)


It is always very exciting for our caring staff at both our Southdown Animal Clinic and Oakville Animal  Clinic to see legs moving, a pain free status and ultimately the ability for the pet to “walk the line” again with their love ones.

Rue 1

Rue’s Puppy Photo

Peika 1










It has been nearly one year since Rue had surgery for a compressed spinal cord. We are please to provide the client’s update.

“We were just talking today about how it is coming up to a year that she had her surgery. We can’t thank you enough for all that you have done for her. You would never know that a year ago she couldn’t walk. Her recovery has been incredible. We are so happy and grateful to have her still in our lives.”
Thanks again,
The Family

Video provided:

Leave a Reply