Damian is a young, very active husky. One day after a long day of playing, Damian became very painful in his back end. On examination Damian was extremely painful on manipulation of his tail. He also was very uncomfortable to sit and have his tail base touched. No fractures or dislocations were palpated. It was quickly determined that Damian suffered from acute caudal myopathy, also known as Swimmer’s Tail or Limber Tail. This is a fairly common, very painful condition in which dogs sprain the muscles and ligaments that support and move the tail. Damian is a very active happy dog and likely over taxed his tail muscles wagging exuberantly. The larger sporting breeds such as Labrador Retrievers and pointers seem to be more prone especially if swimming long periods in cooler water, but any dog can develop the condition. The good news is with pain and anti-inflammatory medication and restricted activity the condition resolves within a few weeks. Damian was prescribed medication and was back to normal, vigorously wagging his tail within 10 days
Annie is a middle-aged larger mixed dog. Annie was playing in her yard and suddenly yelped, fell down and was unable to stand. On presentation to the Animal Hospital, Annie was unable to bear weight on either leg. With support, Annie did not know how to control her feet in order to place them. One leg was significantly worse than the other. Annie’s physical exam findings indicated neurologic deficits in the rear legs. Based on her history, a traumatic rupture of a disc in the back was suspected. The vertebrae of the spine have discs as cushion. On very rare occasions there can be an impact or trauma strong enough that a disc can rupture. A piece of disc material can bulge, impinging the spinal cord or spinal nerves leading to pain and inability to walk in the rear legs or front legs or both, depending on the disc location and severity. Advanced imaging such as an MRI is needed to truly diagnose traumatic disc disease. Dogs may improve with time with conservative anti-inflammatory therapy to reduce swelling but many need spinal surgery if severe enough.
After discussion with Annie’s owners, medical therapy was instituted. Annie was admitted to the hospital and daily intravenous corticosteroids and pain management were started. Typically, this therapy continues for three days. Many dogs start to improve during that time and have a good prognosis. The dogs that do not improve or worsen often need surgery. Unfortunately Annie improved very little but had a great attitude. Surgery was not an option for her owners. Annie’s pain was also controlled.
There are a few dogs that will continue to improve with time and oral corticosteroids and support. Annie’s owners took her home with oral anti-inflammatories and were supporting her with a sling. Annie gradually improved at home and within a couple weeks was walking unsupported and has moved on to running.
Annie is an amazing dog that defeated some tough odds. That is why she is AHS’s canine Pet of the Month!
Lilly is a beautiful long-haired sweet kitty that came in after owners awoke to excessive sneezing and found something sticking out of her nose! Come to find out it was a grass blade and they were unable to remove it. She seemed painful and resistant and was sneezing some blood. Lilly goes outside sometimes and eats grass, but she had not been out at all that day, so they are not sure when she ate the grass.
It took a few good solid “tugs” but finally the grass came out as what looked like a full blade of grass. It is not 100% uncommon to have to remove grass blades from cat noses (interestingly enough) since cats often do nibble on the grass and then accidentally snort it up from the back of their throat, but the most interesting part of this case was the sheer length of this grass blade. Lilly is just a little petite kitty weighing in at only 5 pounds and this blade of grass was about 6cm long!! When the grass was removed, she had a little bleeding afterwards but seemed to feel so much better right away. We ended up giving an antibiotic injection since it is possible she had it in her nose for a few days, but otherwise she made a quick and full recovery.
Since Lilly was such a sweet girl and a great “sport” about the removal of the giant grass blade, we are happy to present her as the August AHS Cat Pet of the Month!