July 2017 Patient of the Month

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Mojo is a rescue dog from Hilton Head, South Carolina. His mom adopted him in 2009… it was love at first sight with this handsome boy. From the moment she saw “the spot,” she knew, he was “her dog.” Despite his crazy behavior during her visit to his foster home where he chased the family cat, pooped in the house and demonstrated terrible leash manners, she packed him up and drove him to Charleston to meet his new family. He sat in her lap the whole way home and never looked back.

In 2011, his mom and dad were married and moved in to a new home. Being his first “real house” with a big yard to run in was very exciting. So exciting, that he implemented a very specific routine of running circles through the house and yard. During one of his routines, he slipped on a rug. It was like a scene from a movie for his mom, who watched it happen in what seemed like slow motion. He seemed fine at first but within a few days, his mom and dad noticed he was no longer following them upstairs. He would sit at the bottom of the staircase and cry instead. Within 24 hours he could barely walk and yelped in pain when his parents tried to pick him up. His mom took him to the vet who did some radiographs but found nothing and prescribed him pain management pills with strict crate rest. Within a few days, he was all better!

In 2012, Mojo experienced more exciting life changes when he got a new baby French Bulldog brother and another new home in Syracuse, NY. His first day here he was so excited to find that NY squirrels are about twice the size of SC squirrels! ...so excited that he exited the moving truck and chased the giant squirrels through the woods and fell into a pond. He is not the most graceful of dogs.

Outside of the giant squirrels, the move to Syracuse turned out to be a blessing because of the staff and doctors at Veterinary Medical Center. In 2013, Mojo was diagnosed with Intervertebral Disc Disease or “IVDD.”

IVDD is a condition where the cushioning discs between the vertebrae of the spinal column either bulge or burst (herniate) into the spinal cord space. These discs then press on the nerves running through the spinal cord causing pain, nerve damage, and even paralysis.”

In Mojo’s case, his symptoms of IVDD can be very scary. It always begins the same with his hesitance to use stairs and he becomes a little withdrawn. He starts dragging his legs and feet behind him, he won’t be able to walk and he will be in a lot of pain. He won’t feel his feet even the doctors pinch really hard. Mojo had an emergencyat VMC in 2013 and luckily, within a few months he made a full recovery! He lived a normal happy (spoiled) dog life until his symptoms returned worse than ever in 2014. This time he was not able to relieve himself and refused to eat or drink. It was a very grim and heartbreaking visit to VMC but Mojo also met Doctor Burnett and Lis Conarton for the first time which turned out to be life-changing. Together, Mojo’s team of his parents, Doctor Burnett and Lis all worked together to implement a treatment plan that literally saved his life. A second surgery was not an option, so he began medicine and physical therapy. Mojo made tremendous progress with this plan. Within 24 hours he was eating, drinking and able to relieve himself and continued to improve from there. Within a month we added acupuncture and he was able to feel his feet and legs and stand a little on his own and wag his tail again! Within 6 months he could walk again without assistance.

It’s almost like clockwork; once a year Mojo will have an episode, but thankfully he has Doctor Burnett and Lis to help with his treatment and ongoing therapy so these episodes and his symptoms are MUCH more manageable. As of February 2017, Mojo has made it 6 months without an episode! He is still the happiest dog in the world and he LOVES his preventative therapy visits to VMC. He still needs a little help from his parents and a harness to help with stairs, jumping and for when he gets SUPERexcited and can’t control his tail wags, but that’s no problem for his family. Today, he can walk, run and do all of his normal crazy dog things including chasing these huge NY squirrels. 

                             ~The Arcia Family