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My 2 year old german shepherd was diagnosed with a herniated…

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My 2 year old german...
My 2 year old german shepherd was diagnosed with a herniated disk at L7-S1 by MRI. Her worst symptom was occaisional lameness in left hind leg that quickly went away. She had surgery 6 days ago, was discharged 4 days ago, and we found her to be incontinent of bowel and bladder. She has returned to surgeon for steroids and monitoring. Some have told us that this is normal and will take time, but we are very worried.

On return to surgeon yesterday, she was seen by colleague of performing surgeon. He suggested that the laminectomy left a space around the nerve roots and as a result the nerves were jostled and this along with inflammation caused the incontinence. He admitted her for steroids and monitoring. Speaking to the performing surgeon today, he says that he is perplexed. That the main nerves for the are higher up for sphincter control and that only a small amount of those nerves are where he operated. He explains that that is why you only see incontinence in dogs with longstanding disease. How often do dogs come out of surgery worse off than going in? I have not been able to find literature on this. Only on dogs who have this problem pre-operatively, not post-op. I seem to be getting different stories form everyone. Can this be explained in a logical scientific manner? If so, what is prognosis?
Submitted: 8 years ago.Category: Dog Veterinary
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Answered in 12 minutes by:
6/22/2010
Dog Veterinarian: Dr Eli, Veterinarian replied 8 years ago
Dr Eli
Dr Eli, Veterinarian
Category: Dog Veterinary
Satisfied Customers: 1,250
Experience: 40 years of Veterinary Medicine and Surgery
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Good afternoon, sorry Abby is having this problem. I have performed many back surgeries and it is not uncommon to have some neuro deficits after surgery due to the swelling and inflammation from the surgery itself. It does take time, but usually this will resolve. I wish the best for Abby. I hope this information helps, Thank you, XXXXX XXXXX
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Customer reply replied 8 years ago
Relist: Answer quality.
Dog Veterinarian: Dr. Loretta, Dog Veterinarian replied 8 years ago
Dr. Loretta
Dr. Loretta, Dog Veterinarian
Category: Dog Veterinary
Satisfied Customers: 28,360
Experience: 25 years of experience in surgery and internal medicine.
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HI again. I will try to explain.....Yes, there are cases where the patient does not respond well to this surgery and can become worse than better than before the procedure. This is an unfortunate condition but unavoidable is some circumstances,stances due to the fragility of the nerves in the spinal cord.

The nerves that supply the detrusor and sphincter muscles come from S3 and any interference with these nerves can cause urinary and fecal incontinence. In the article I will give you, they researched with 33 patients with similar symptoms and with treatment, 17 patients had symptoms resolved. I know Abbey had L7=S1 involved but there must be some inflammation that has caused her problems with micturition and fecal incontinence. With the proper treatment, she has a good chance that this will resolve. there is also a chance that this may not resolve.


I know you would like a more definitive answer but when it comes to a herniated disc and the spinal cord exposed, there are too many variables to tell for sure. Discuss this again with your neurosurgeon.

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/3660842

Good Luck!!
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Customer reply replied 8 years ago
We seem to be on right track. Article abstract is non-specific as to treatment. Can you expand on that?
Dog Veterinarian: Dr. Loretta, Dog Veterinarian replied 8 years ago
This article from germany discusses medication which is steroids or electrostimulation. I am not clear on this treatment or if it is an accepted treatment that Veterinary Neurologist use. You would need to discuss this with your Neurologist and I am sure they are aware of this treatment.

I am sure Abbey is on high dose of steroids to reduce inflammation that may be interfering with the nerves that affect this incontinence.
Dr. Loretta
Dr. Loretta, Dog Veterinarian
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Customer reply replied 8 years ago
Thanks, XXXXX XXXXX is a mute point. Neurosurgeons did an mri and saw more compression. Suspecting a hematoma, the operated and found that the first surgeon had cut some nerves. Little chance of any improvement and her right leg is now worse than her left leg. Abby is a special dog who worked with abused children and made a big difference in restoring their confidence and getting them through the trauma of testifying. I wish I could say that I could do that. She will never be certified now. We are doing all we can and will try to manage her handicap as long as she is happy, healthy and pain-free.
Dog Veterinarian: Dr. Loretta, Dog Veterinarian replied 8 years ago
Thank you for the update.

I am so sorry to hear about Abby's condition but it seems that you love her so much that you will make the best of this situation.

She sounds like such as special dog!!! This is very sad!!

hang in there and love her for the time you have with her!!!
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