Bernie's Story

Bernie was referred to Blaise Veterinary Referral Hospital for an acute onset severe non-ambulatory tetraparesis. An MRI scan revealed a hydrated nucleus pulposus extrusion at C4-C5. Hydrated disc extrusions can respond well to conservative management, but Bernie deteriorated within 48 hours to tetraplegia and was hypoventilating due to being unable to expand his thorax.

Bernie underwent a ventral slot procedure to decompress his spinal cord, by removing the hydrated disc material and then recovered in our ICU for assisted ventilation via a tracheostomy tube. By assisting ventilation via a tracheostomy tube, this gave Bernie's intercostal muscles time to recover while allowing him to remain awake, eat and drink (which we would have been unable to do via conventional ventilation requiring anaesthesia).

Bernie remained on the ventilator for 3 days, after which he made considerable improvements, and his tracheostomy tube could be removed. After a total of 2 weeks in hospital with supportive care and physiotherapy, Bernie was discharged fully ambulatory with only a mild tetraparesis.

This case highlights great collaborative work between the neurology, ECC and nursing teams here at Blaise, to provide the very best care for patients like Bernie.

We are thrilled with the outcome and wish Bernie a long and happy future.