Case Report: Herniated Discs at T12-13 and T13-L1

Peanut, a three and a half year old male neutered Mini-Dachshund, came to the Surgical Division of the Veterinary Referral Center of Northern Virginia after injuring his back.

Peanut was attempting to jump off the couch but misjudged and slipped off instead. He never cried out but was very reserved and acting a little odd the next day. The following day he yelped when his Mom touched him. The next day his Mom noticed that his back seemed to be hunched and he could not sit up like a prairie dog as he normally does.

The following day Peanut’s parents took him to his regular veterinarian. No x-rays were done, but an exam led the veterinarian to suspect Peanut had a soft tissue injury of the shoulder or back. Peanut was prescribed an anti-inflammatory medication and activity restrictions.

At first it seemed like the medication was helping but then his Dad noticed he wasn’t using his back legs. Peanut returned to his regular veterinarian and was diagnosed with hind limb paralysis. The only good news with this situation was that Peanut still had deep pain. Deep pain is the last sensation to go when paralysis occurs. If deep pain is gone there is a much lower chance that surgery will reverse the paralysis.

Peanut was referred to another veterinary surgical practice before finding the Veterinary Referral Center of Northern Virginia. The cost for the MRI and the surgery was prohibitive at the other surgical practice, so Peanut’s Mom and Dad looked for other surgical practices that could also perform the MRI. That’s when they found us.

When Dr. Bradley saw Peanut he was concerned about his prognosis due to the absence of deep pain. Peanut’s owners decided to proceed with the MRI and surgery. The MRI showed herniated discs at T12-13 and T13-L1. During surgery Dr. Bradley noted visible bruising and hemorrhage to the spinal cord, a fair amount of disc material was recovered from the cord.

Peanut stayed with us for one week after surgery. During this time his tail wag and his ability to urinate returned and he began trying to push himself up with his hind legs.

Recovery from this surgery can be excruciatingly slow but with patience a full recovery can be possible. Dr. Bradley saw Peanut five weeks after surgery and he was wobbly but he was walking!

We are so happy that Peanut’s parents took a chance on this handsome, sweet boy. We all fell in love with Peanut and are delighted he is progressing well!