Pet of the Month: August 2011
“Barney” Sexton – St. Bernard
Barney presented to Rocky Mountain Veterinary Neurology in January of 2007 as an 8 year old St. Bernard with progressive weakness of his hind limbs. Dr. Lane performed magnetic resonance imaging and determined he had multiple ruptured intervertebral discs requiring surgery. Barney underwent surgery in March of 2007 and recovered quickly.
A month after he was discharged from the hospital, Barney returned to see Dr. Lane because he was again having trouble using both hind limbs; but this time was also experiencing back pain and weight loss. Spinal radiographs were taken and Barney was diagnosed with discospondylitis. This is an infection of the intervertebral disc and the end plates of the adjoining vertebrae. This infection causes back pain, weight loss, and spinal cord dysfunction. Following a second MRI, Barney underwent surgery in April of 2007 to biopsy, culture and clean decompress the spinal cord from the infectious tissue compressing his spinal cord.
Barney recovered from his second surgery slower than the first, but with a positive personality he displayed to everyone. Barney was always happy and willing to do anything he was asked. He was very spoiled by the neurology staff; after his second surgery he did not want to eat, and the neurology staff, who had fallen in love with him took turns cooking him chicken each day to entice him to eat as much as possible. Barney’s owners lived in Pueblo, Colorado, 3 hours away and were unable to visit him often. The neurology staff made a point to eat their lunches and dinner with Barney to keep his spirits up while his parents were away.
Barney made a full recovery following the second surgery due to his strong positive personality and the physical therapy and the support of his owners. They helped him regain his strength and weight back so that he could continue living a happy energetic life style.
Barney returned to see Dr. Lane in May of 2011 as a 12 year old; after 4 years of a normal, pain free and active life. Barney was reported to be demonstrating weakness in his hind limbs. But pain did not seem to be an issue this time. MRI was repeated and Barney was diagnosed with a chronic compressive myelopathy at the opposite side of the site of infection. Surgery will not be an option this time around. Medical management has been implemented with a positive response. He is now ambulating without support and improving daily. His spirits have remained high with his owners determined to give him the best quality of life possible. We are, as well.