Update: With a heavy heart and permission from Kika’s carer, we are updating this blog to say that Kika was very sadly put to sleep in September 2020 due to intervertebral disc complications. She was an incredibly loved, beautiful soul. Our thoughts and best wishes go to Kika’s family at such a difficult time.
“Two years ago this March I went to collect my Kika. She had spent two days travelling in a van full of rescue dogs from Romania. She’s a quiet and shy girl. She doesn’t play with toys much but loves to cuddle and lick you. She settled in so quickly to our home and bonded with my other two dogs right away. She forged an especially close bond with my nine-year-old “puppy” dog Staffordshire/English Bull Terrier Cross. We are a happy little family of fur babies and me.
It was a Thursday morning this April, and I woke up to see Kika’s back legs were completely floppy. She went to bed and was her usual self, but then in the morning she was dragging her back legs – it was the scariest of times. I rushed her to my local vets for an assessment who promptly referred her to The Ralph. We visited the Neurology team at The Ralph that same day for a diagnosis and an operation – thankfully, I’d got to the vets when I did.” – Susi, Kika’s carer
Kika suffered from hind limb paralysis caused by intervertebral disc disease (IVDD, “slipped disc”). The intervertebral disc is a cushion or shock absorber found between the bones of the back (the vertebrae). When the disc ‘slips’ it can press on the nerves of the spinal cord causing pain and neurological deficits. Typically this type of spinal disease is associated with breeds like Dachshunds and French Bull Dogs but other dogs, including cross-breeds like Kika, are also susceptible.
An MRI scan of Kika’s spine confirmed the diagnosis and identified where the IVDD was located. To treat Kika’s paralysis, she underwent spinal surgery (a T13 – L1 left-sided hemilaminectomy) to remove the fragmented disc material and thereby the pressure on the spinal cord.
Following Kika’s surgery, she was seen by our Physiotherapy + Rehabilitation team for a combination of hands-on physiotherapeutic treatment (including massage, passive range-of-movement and functional exercise prescription) to rebuild the strength and movement in her hind legs. Kika was making good progress during the immediate days post-surgery and was ready to go home to continue her rehabilitation and recovery.
“Kika is making great progress. She has not yet got full use of her co-ordination but she tries so hard, bless her. The physiotherapy is going ok, but she doesn’t ever sit on demand much! I gently massage her, to help relax her spine. Her leg movement is improving and I’m moving her legs as per the exercises shown in the physiotherapy video Kim sent to me. Kika’s such a special little girl and I’m so grateful for the care, dignity and genuine love given to Kika while she was with The Ralph.” – Susi, Kika’s carer.