January 2014

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Devastating Fracture Heals Thanks to Expertise of Veterinary Neurologist and Orthopedic Surgeon

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Kevin and Sarah Smith donít know how their 7-year-old chocolate Labrador, Daisey, was injured. Sarah, studying to become a physical therapist assistant, was not at home. Kevin, a paramedic and firefighter, had been mowing the yard at their Pocahontas, Ark., home that Monday when a friend dropped by. Kevin and his friend went inside the house, leaving Daisey to romp in the yard with the visitorís dog.

Kevin said he heard a loud yelp and bolted out the door in time to see Daisey try to run toward him, only to stumble and roll under his truck. It took him a few minutes to get the dog out from under the truck, and while she had no visible injuries to explain the yelp or fall, she could not hold her head up. Concerned, he took Daisey to a local veterinarian who suspected a pinched nerve and prescribed steroids and pain
management therapy.

For a couple of days, the Smiths observed their dog. Daisey could walk, but her neck continued to droop, and any kind of jolting movement, such as when she tried to leap into a vehicle, would elicit yelps of pain. After two days of treatment had yielded no improvement, Daisey was returned to the veterinarianís office. This time radiographs revealed a far more serious issue than a pinched nerve: Daisey had sustained a fracture to her C-2 vertebra, the bone in the spinal column that is second closest to the skull.

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Through the Lens

Dr. Leslie Lyons, PhD, the Gilbreath-McLorn Endowed Professor of Comparative Medicine at the MU College of Veterinary Medicine, discusses the feasibility of training cats.


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