Dr. Andrew Isaacs, DVM Diplomate ACVIM (Neurology) Dogwood Veterinary Referral Center

His primary interests include intervertebral disc disease, seizure management, luxations/fractures of the spine, and surgery for brain tumors
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When to re-image?
Thursday, April 12, 2012

Ann writes: It has been 6 weeks since Buster had a set back following disc surgery. He’s taking Tramadol, Methocarbamol and Prednisone. The Prednisone is a tapering dose, and we are now giving him ¼ tablet every third day. We’ve reduced the other meds to 2 times a day from 3. We’ve also been taking him for acupuncture and laser treatments once a week. Since he showed pain when he moves his head our local vet fashioned ‘cervical collar’ for him to stabilize his neck. She feels he has shown improved movement and less neck pain during the 3 weeks that he’s been wearing the collar.
 
He continues to favor his left front leg and most of the time has difficulty putting any weight on it. The pain episodes are not as severe as they were at first, but he does experience random flare-ups.   
 
After reading about nerve root signature pain on Dodgerslist and other sources, I’ve come to the conclusion that it’s likely the cause of Buster’s problem. 
 
I understand that an MRI is the only way to diagnose this condition. What are the surgical options if it’s determined that he has nerve root signature pain? Is it likely to reoccur even if he has surgery? What would be the recovery time? And how would this affect the progress he’s made to this point?
 
Thanks for your help.

 
It can sometimes take several weeks for the inflammation to resolve following surgery. As long as the trend is one of improvement then I would just continue on with the prescribed course.

Buster's case has, however, been out 6 weeks. At this point it may be worth asking about re-imaging to make sure there is not residual disk material present. Both Dr. Galle and I have had cases where we have had to re-mage and do surgery. So, it's no fault of the surgeon, just that it happens sometimes.
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