Will You Help Yogurt Stand?
UPDATE March 10, 2017: Yogurt has undergone the surgery to stabilize the vertebrae in his neck, and is resting comfortably. Doctors have noticed improvement in his motor function, and he is able to bear some weight on his hind limbs. Yogurt's front limbs also seem improved, though he is not able to bear significant weight on them. His doctor's noted a bilateral shoulder luxation, that was not evident on previous x-rays, which may require additional surgeries to repair.
For now, this sweet pup wants to move around and greet his visitors with playful snuggles, but we are keeping him restricted for a few weeks while he recuperates. In the meantime, a quad cart will be available for Yogurt to use to support his front legs while getting physical therapy on his hind legs.
Please continue to support our Help Me Heal Program, where sick and injured animals can get the vital medical care they need to lead happy, healthy, pain-free lives.
Recently we received a call from Animal Care & Control of NYC (ACC) asking for our help tending to a homeless animal in desperate need of medical attention. Yogurt, a young Shi Tzu mix, believed to be less than a year old, was dropped at one of their facilities in a non-ambulatory state. Barely able to lift his head and unable to move any of his limbs, it was obvious he needed the kind of compassionate care that only North Shore Animal League America and our Help Me Heal Program can provide.
Once in the healing hands of the medical staff inside our Alex Lewyt Veterinary Medical Center, the ailing pup was put through the entire gamut of examinations and diagnostic testing. The results revealed what Dr. Mark Verdino, Animal League America Senior Vice President and Chief of Veterinary Staff, suspected all along; Yogurt was suffering from the effects of a spinal cord injury.
“We tentatively diagnosed Yogurt with a disease called Atlantoaxial subluxation. What that means is that he’s got instability within the first two vertebrae in his neck, which causes pressure in the spinal cord up in that region and limits impulses going down the rest of the body,” Dr. Verdino said. “While he’s not having any difficulties breathing, sensation in the limbs and some motor function, and most importantly, proprioception, or the ability to coordinate the limbs to make them do the things you want them to do, are affected.”
After an MRI and further testing at the Animal Medical Center in Manhattan confirmed our original diagnosis, it was decided the only way to give Yogurt a chance to enjoy a healthy, somewhat normal life is with a delicate surgery to stabilize the vertebrae in his neck. Doctor Verdino said, despite not having records of Yogurt’s medical history, or knowing the definitive root of the problem, the hope is that the surgery will allow for him to regain some, if not all of his mobility. For a young dog dealing with such unfortunate medical complications that completely stripped him of his ability to run, walk, or simply bear his own weight, Yogurt’s affectionate, playful personality never waned, so Dr. Verdino and the surgeons at AMC have a little extra motivation to help get this loveable little guy back on his feet.
“The board certified surgeons at the AMC will basically fuse the two vertebrae together in a normal anatomical position, which will take some of the pressure off of the spinal cord. Then it becomes a waiting game to see if the damage around the cord is reversible,” he said. “We don’t have a good history on Yogurt, but based on the muscle atrophy we think this has been going on since he was very young, as a result of a congenital defect or an injury, but we’re optimistic that between the surgery and on-going physical therapy here at our campus we’ll be able to have him regain most, if not all, of his mobility.”
Thanks to our one-of-a-kind Help Me Heal Program, which only exists because of the generous support of loyal donors like you, Yogurt will, at the very least, have the opportunity to see a brighter future. Please support the Help Me Heal Program and help give precious animals like Yogurt a brighter, healthier future.
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