Mikey is an adorable 6 year-old Siamese who loves spending time on the sofa, playing on his climbing frame and even playing fetch! One evening, Mikey suddenly became very wobbly and was unable to jump up onto the sofa.
Mikey was thoroughly examined by the team at Hollybank; he was found to have a reduced awareness of the location of his hindlimbs, he was very painful on his lower back and had a very full bladder. Our first job was to make Mikey feel more comfortable; he was given a strong pain relieving injection. He was then admitted into the hospital for ongoing pain relief and for close monitoring of his comfort levels.
We were concerned that there was pressure on Mikey’s spinal cord and that this was why he was wobbly and painful. The spinal cord runs from the neck to the tail and is made up of many nerves. It is protected by the bones of the spine. Between each bone there are soft pads, or discs which act to prevent the bones of the spine rubbing together. A common reason for pressure on the spinal cord involves movement of these pads and contact with the spinal column. This is sometimes referred to as a disk prolapse. However, there are lots of other possible causes of spinal disease.
Although Mikey was much comfier with pain relief on board his bladder still remained very full. Important nerves to the bladder can also be affected by spinal disease and this can affect the bladders ability to empty itself therefore we were concerned this may be the case. If Mikey was unable to empty his bladder it could make him critically ill.
We elected to carry out some further investigations at this point. We sedated Mikey and passed a urinary catheter into his bladder. This was to ensure that there wasn’t anything else preventing Mikey from passing urine, for example an obstruction in his urethra. We were pleased to find that the catheter passed easily, confirming that there was not an obstruction. Next we took x- rays of his spine and abdomen.
The x-rays showed an area of suspicion in his spine. However, spinal x-rays can be difficult to interpret and we elected to send these to a referral centre where a dedicated neurology department were able to provide a second opinion.
The best imaging modality to investigate the spine is actually an MRI scan. This procedure requires specialist machinery and operators therefore Mikey would need referral for further imaging. The MRI scan would hopefully give us much more information about the abnormalities in Mikey’s spine.
Mikey stayed hospitalised over the weekend prior to his appointment so that we could monitor him closely. We ensured he had regular pain relief and that his condition was not deteriorating. We also wanted to monitor his bladder carefully and manually express it as required. However, we were very relieved one day to find urine in his litter tray as this meant his bladder function was fine. Mikey is a such a loving boy and his cheeky character kept us entertained during his stay!
The MRI scan confirmed our suspicions; there was pressure on Mikey’s spinal cord caused by one of his spinal discs. Mikey required delicate spinal surgery to relieve the pressure on his spinal cord which he underwent the following day. The surgery was successful and after a 5 days of hospitalisation at the referral centre Mikey was discharged, walking with only a minor wobble. In order to ensure the best recovery possible it was important that Mikey received restricted exercise at home and continued his pain relieving medications.
We saw Mikey back at Hollybank a week after he was discharged from the referral centre. The team at Hollybank were so pleased to see his improvement after his surgery! The wound on his back from where his spinal surgery had been performed had healed very well and the stitches from his skin were removed. Mikey has continued to recover well over the last few months and we are sure he is pleased to be back at home with his owner and his sibling Jazz.