UF manages spinal-cord stroke through alternative therapies, rehab

UF manages spinal-cord stroke through alternative therapies, rehab

Jun 01, 2011

GAINESVILLE, FLA. — Fibrocartilaginous embolism, referred to as spinal-cord stroke, may be increasing in incidence in certain dogs. Most recently, Ormond Beach, Fla., veterinarian Mark Salzburg and a team of veterinarians from the University of Florida (UF) helped treat a 5-year-old Australian Shepherd for the condition. The case offered insight about this condition, he says.

When FCE was first suspected in the dog, Salzburg consulted the UF Small Animal Hospital's neurology service for an MRI and additional evaluation. The MRI did reveal a "highly suspicious" area within the spinal cord that was most likely an embolism, explains Sarita Miles, DVM, who was part of UF's neurology team that treated the dog.

Following a month of rehabilitation therapy, which included underwater treadmill therapy, at UF Small Animal Hospital, the Australian Shepherd fully recovered. The rehabilitation therapy regimen included less than traditional therapies including acupuncture, laser therapy, neuromuscular electrical stimulation, range-of-motion exercises, massage and Chinese herbal medicine.

It's not uncommon for UF to see a handful or more of FCE cases each month, especially in large-breed dogs, according to Carolina Medina, DVM, chief of UF's acupuncture and rehabilitation service.