degenerative disk disease

VMC's May Patient of the Month

Petunia's Story

Petunia

Petunia was the runt of her litter and we believe that is why her spirit is especially strong.  Since the day she came home with her brother Ruben, she has made it very clear that she is the alpha.  Although she may be tiny, she has always gone out of her way to prove that she is the ruler of the roost. It is especially humorous since Ruben and the rest of the animals could not care less.

At her very first vet visit, the doctor warned that she was a 'lemon' and she should be returned to the breeder. Obviously, this was out of the question.  Shortly after several consultations, she was taken to Los Angeles at just 3 months old to have surgery on her heart.  The procedure was very successful, reducing her heart murmur significantly. We were so relieved and Petunia's new strength was remarkable. Growing up in Sunny San Diego, the two Frenchies frequented dog beaches and parks; playing fetch was their favorite thing to do!  Petunia was fast and coordinated, bounding to get her ball. Unlike her brother who often tumbled and fumbled the ball -- he usually held on to it for dear life, knowing Petunia would happily have both balls to herself.

It was not until Petunia was 9 years old that she showed a change in her gait.  At first it was just once and a while, when running full speed for her ball, that her hind legs would go limp. She hardly seemed to notice and would still propel herself for the ball.  After several similar occurrences, we decided to have her seen by a neurosurgeon in Northern San Diego. After examining her, it was predicted that she had bulging discs in two parts of her spine. An MRI would confirm if surgery was even an option, knowing that surgery would only prevent more damage from being done, but would not reverse any of the immobility that she was already experiencing. With Petunia's heart condition and age, anesthesia for the MRI was not encouraged, let alone for the intensive surgery that may follow. The doctors noted that any pain she was experiencing was not affecting her attitude or eating habits and that we should proceed by minimizing her exertion at the park and try some anti-inflammatories to see if that may relieve any pressure in her spinal column. She tested out some mild steroids with little benefits.

Meanwhile, a move to Boston was in process and soon she met with the doctors at Angell Medical Hospital.  First she saw the neurosurgeons and heart specialist, seeking second opinions and advice on how to proceed.  At this point she was becoming more and more wobbly in her hips- coined as 'drunken sailor' movement.  Her spirit was still strong, but she was not able to move like she once had.  After concluding that any operation was too risky with no guarantee of positive results, she went to see Dr. Lisa Moses for acupuncture. After Petunia's first visit with Dr. Moses, she was noticeably more comfortable and showed strong action in her hind quarters. She found relief from pain and reduced inflammation immediately and it seemed like a miracle. As almost two years passed, Petunia's condition did continue to worsen, as expected.  She tried out water therapy and was fitted for some wheels. Still, it was obvious how much she rebounded after acupuncture. Her relief was visible and her love for Dr. Moses was palpable.

Petunia and Ruben 2

When Petunia moved to the Syracuse area, Dr. Moses recommended the VMC and Dr. Fleckenstein. For almost a year now she has been working with Dr. Fleckenstein and Lis. For the first time she was given exercises and stretches to work on at home. She started taking Chinese Herbs and has minimized her steroid intake, with positive results.  She looks forward to her weekly visits to see Dr. Fleckenstein, Sue, and our other lovely assistants. With ample treats and comfy bedding always set up, Ruben enjoys almost as much pampering when he comes along to accompany his sister. Together, we are all forever grateful for their tender and thoughtful care.  We simply cannot thank you enough!

~Gregg Family

Diagnosis:

  • Hind Limb Paraparesis Secondary to Presumptive Intervertebral Disc Disease and Congenital Vertebral Abnormalities

Treatment:

  • Acupuncture, Electroacupuncture & Lacer Acupuncture for Pain, Nerve Stimulation, Heart Disease, Urinary and Immune Support & General Well Being.
  • Methyl Prednisone, Gabapentin, Chinese Herbal Formula—Loranthus Powder
  • Canine Cart
  • Under Water Treadmill, Low Level Laser Therapy for muscle spasms and Home Exercise & Stretching Program including Home Water Therapy

August Pain Management Patient of the Month

Lady's Story Lady August 2015

Owning a pair of dachshunds with “dog-a-titude” can make for some interesting adventures for their owners. Our first adventure started with one of Lady and Jackson’s play sessions in 2011. We heard a yip from Lady as she ran under our bed. Unfortunately for Lady, she had run into a wire from one of the support beams for the bed frame. This had pierced a hole in her back.

In a panic, we contacted the Veterinary Medical Center and they advised us to bring her in immediately through the Emergency Service. Upon arrival, the staff had taken Lady in for evaluation and found that, she would need to undergo surgery to repair the hole and she had intervertebral disk disease (IVDD). Needless to say, we moved forward with the surgery and discussed our options for the IVDD. Initially, Lady was treated with antibiotics, Metacam and Tramadol. Once the wound was healed we no longer needed the antibiotics, but continued with the Metacam and Tramadol for the IVDD. We did not like the idea of keeping Lady on the Metacam, Tramadol, and Gabapentin so we looked at holistic options such as: physical therapy, acupuncture, veterinary spinal manipulation therapy (VSMT), and laser treatments.

We started bi-weekly treatments of acupuncture, spinal manipulation, and laser treatments with Dr. Polly Fleckenstein. Also, during our visits with Polly we also learned how to give Lady doggie massages. Since Lady also needed to strengthen her muscles in her legs and back, we also worked with Lis Conarton and the physical rehabilitation service. Lis started Lady with simple stretches and worked her way up to the underwater treadmill. Seeing my little dachshund wearing a life jacket and walking on the underwater treadmill was quite a sight!

Lady and Jackson August 2015

At this point in time Lady has finished her physical therapy and is making monthly visits to Dr. Fleckenstein for her acupuncture, VSMT and laser treatments. As a matter of fact, when we tell Lady that she is going to visit Dr. Fleckenstein she heads to the door with her tail wagging. We cannot say enough about the professional staff and services that are offered at the Veterinary Medical Center of CNY. We have been truly blessed to have found such a wonderful gifted staff. ~The Kleinwaks Family

Lady's Problem: Intervertebral Disc Disease

Current Treatments:

  • Electroacupuncture & Lacer Acupuncture every 4-6 weeks
  • Veterinary Spinal Manipulation Therapy every 4-6 weeks
  • Home exercise program including massage, stretches & exercise
  • Multi-Modal Pain Management Program

June 2015 VMC Pain Management Patient of the Month

Puccini's Story Puccini

My husband and I are proud owners of our 11 year old standard poodle named Puccini. Since Puccini was the runt of a litter of six, he weighs only 42 pounds, whereas, typically, the breed weighs between 60-70 pounds. During Puccini’s initial veterinary visit, Dr. Davis at Lyndon Veterinary Clinic, advised us that sometimes the runt of a litter can develop a variety of health challenges. Clearly, this has proven to be so for our dog. Beginning as early as 3 yrs. old, Dr. Davis diagnosed Puccini with hip dysplasia, with the right hip significantly worse than the left. Just looking at the x-ray of Puccini’s right hip, Dr. Davis commented, “you wouldn’t think he could walk.” Dr. Davis prescribed Cosequin double strength twice a day, and he modified Puccini’s playtime eliminating the run/stop action which was bad for his back legs. In 2009, Dr. Davis diagnosed Puccini with Intervertebral Disc Disease. Dr. Davis referred us to Cornell Companion Animal Hospital where they discovered that Puccini’s hind limb muscles had atrophied. At that time, they recommended Lis Conarton and the Physical Rehabilitation Service at the Veterinary Medical Center. Lis evaluated Puccini, and provided us with a thorough understanding of the problems and challenges he may encounter. She highlighted the various techniques she would use on Puccini including: laser therapy; the underwater treadmill; the “agility course”; and the importance of addressing the Myofascial Trigger Points (muscle knots). We were impressed with Lis—her breadth of knowledge, her professional demeanor, her patience, and Puccini who doesn’t like meeting people warmed right up to her immediately. Lis has been able to markedly improve Puccini’s muscle strength and maintain his muscle mass. Due to Puccini’s aging process, Lis has continually modified his rehab sessions, along with the home exercise program. She informs Dr. Davis of her observations about Puccini which has produced a “winning team” for our dog. We are convinced that Puccini’s quality of life is very good because of Lis. We are not taking anything away from Dr. Davis, who is a great veterinarian, but Lis has skills that are not widely available. We refer to Lis as the “animal whisperer”. Lis is an amazing and talented young woman, who possesses the desire to stay abreast of everything related to her profession. We are always recommending the VMC and Lis to anyone who has an animal in need, because she treats each animal as if she is the owner. To this day, we count our blessings that physical rehabilitation is available in Syracuse and that a highly knowledgeable, competent, and talented woman by the name of Lis Conarton manages the area. ~Puccini’s Family

Puccini

  • 11 year old Standard Poodle
  • Hip Dysplasia
  • Cervical Disc Disease/Intervertebral Disc Disease
  • Right Cruciate Ligament Strain
  • Compensatory Muscle Strain & Myofascial Trigger Points
  • Irritable Bowel Disease

Current Treatments

Weekly Rehabilitation Sessions Including:

  • Hydrotherapy Exercise
  • Under Water Treadmill
  • Low Level Laser Therapy
  • Joint Mobilization
  • Massage Including-Myofascial Trigger Point Release
  • Home Exercise Program
  • Home Massage Program

March 2015 VMC Pain Management Patient of the Month

Nikkos 3-2014 Nikkos' Story

Nikkos is our thirteen and a half year old, beloved, Coton de Tulear. Between my mother and I we have four Cotons, each with a unique personality and each is very special to us. In the fall of 2013, Nikkos began to display some fairly significant signs that he was in severe pain; he had been diagnosed by his veterinarian Dr. Erin Corrigan from Fairmount Animal Hospital a few years earlier with degenerative disk disease, however, he was never in this much discomfort. He could barely use his hind legs at all. They would shake, cross with one another or give out on him continually. He sat to go to the bathroom, could no longer use his steps to get on and off the furniture and would shake throughout the days with pain. It was truly heartbreaking to watch. After bringing him to Dr. Corrigan they suggested that we bring him to the Veterinary Medical Center for an evaluation by The Pain Management Service. We visited both Dr. Burnett and Dr. Fleckenstein every other day for about two weeks, trying various medications, but still to no avail. I was now staying up throughout the nights, sitting, while holding Nikkos tightly wound in a baby blanket, on his back, which gave him little relief. I was feeding him baby food from my fingertip and propping a pillow under his head whenever he would try to “relax” to give him some relief from whatever was occurring with his spine/disks in his back. We rushed Nikkos into the emergency room, with all his comforting possessions, with the idea of having him stay for a 48-hour “pain holiday” with hopes that with him being still at the hospital would bring some lasting relief to the spine. Every time we did so he appeared slightly better so it never came to this. A couple of times when we brought him in we weren’t sure if we would be bringing him home after talking about his quality of life with the doctors. To our surprise, Nikkos did eventually turn a corner; he began eating, wagging his tail, sleeping through the night, and walking upright. The doctors were more than persistent with finding just the right combination of medications for him, which was a significant factor. We also had acupuncture sessions, and physical therapy with Lis Conarton. This past summer we purchased a dog stroller for him which he enjoys greatly and he continues to see Lis about once a month. I cannot say enough about how exceptional everyone at the Veterinary Medical Center has been to Nikkos in our desperate time of need. Without them, it is very likely that Nikkos would not have recovered as he did and there would be a huge hole in our family. Thank you, from the bottom of our hearts, Veterinary Medical Center for all you have done to restore our pup’s quality of life and give us more time with him. We will be forever grateful. ~The Brundin Family

Nikkos' issues:

  • Degenerative Disk Disease
  • Compensatory Pain and Spasms

Current Treatments:

  • Acupuncture
  • Laser therapy
  • Multi Modal Pain Management Program
  • Mobilization & Massage
  • Nutrition & Supplements
  • Home Exercise Program