The surgeons at Grove Referrals have significant experience and advanced training in spinal surgery. We are able to offer a 24-hours emergency service for acute spinal cord injuries or spinal pain and provide advanced diagnostic and surgical facilities for investigation and treatment of chronic spinal cord conditions.
Animals referred for investigation of spinal cord injuries undergo thorough neurological examination during the initial consultation. Many cases often require further investigation including, radiography, myelography, CT or MRI. Recommended diagnostic investigations, treatment options and prognosis are always discussed in detail with the clients. We also ensure clients are fully aware of outlook and aftercare , and considered this extremely important prior to undertaking any treatment. Conservative management may be considered appropriate for certain spinal conditions or where special circumstances dictate surgery is not a feasible option.
Grove referrals have a caring and dedicated team of qualified nurses that along side the surgeons are pivotal in the rehabilitation of spinal patients during the hospitalisation period. This can often range from one to three weeks and clients are welcome to visit their pets at any time with prior arrangement.
Common spinal conditions treated at Grove Referrals include intervertebral disc disease (slipped disc), spinal trauma (fractures/dislocations), lumbosacral disease and occasionally spinal deformities, instabilities and spinal cysts.
The early signs of a neurological problem include back pain, ataxia (poor limb coordination), loss of proprioception (spatial awareness) such as knuckling and ultimately loss of voluntary motor function and pain sensation. It is imperative that should these clinical signs be noted that animals are examined by a veterinarian immediately since the prognosis for a functional recovery decreases is dependent on the severity of the clinical signs.
Lumbosacral disease is an umbrella term used to describe a condition of the spine at the level of the lumbosacral junction. Usually the condition arises in middle to older aged animals. Certain breeds such as German Shepherds being over represented. In the majority of cases degeneration of the lumbosacral intervertebral disc results in narrowing of the spinal canal at the lumbosacral junction usually from protrusion of the degenerate disc. Compression of the nerve roots (cauda equina) as they cross the lumbosacral junction results in pain and discomfort and in severe cases hind limb neurological deficits, urinary and faecal incontinence.
Spinal trauma is often the result of road traffic accidents and in most cases requires emergency assessment, stabilisation and definitive treatment. Trauma to the spine is often accompanied by concurrent injuries to thoracic, abdominal structures as well as other orthopaedic injuries (fractures/luxations).
Clinical signs are a result of disruption of transmission of information from the brain to the limbs but primarily dogs present with a hind limb weakness and ataxia. This can sometimes be exacerbated by neck position. In severe cases a quadriplegia may be present. As indicated a diagnosis is usually achieved with advanced imaging.
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