Recently Dr. McDonnell received an email from Victoria R. whose harlequin Great Dane, Baba Booey, underwent surgery for Wobbler's Syndrome in March. She sent along links to several YouTube videos.
She wrote, "As promised, here are some links to Booey videos pre-surgery and post-surgery, as well as some fun videos before we noticed anything was wrong. In watching these videos again, I'm reminded of how bad it really was before the surgery. Some days were really awful."
Victoria knew when she rescued the seven-week-old puppy she calls Booey that he might have some physical problems. He was, after all, the result of an unfortunate backyard breeding accident that resulted in nine pups.
"He's the fifth Great Dane I've had," Victoria explains. "Every one of them has been a rescue. Booey's truly the best dog I've ever had and I adore him."
At seven months, Booey developed osteochondritis dissecans (OCD)—his shoulders started to splinter. Both shoulders were operated on successfully. Then at a year old, Booey started to show signs of weakness in his hind end. "He had a rapid decline. At 14–15 months, he stopped doing stairs, and we'd had to install ramps to get him in and out of the house. He would fall constantly. It affected his mood, and he was sad."
That's when Victoria contacted Dr. McDonnell. "When I brought Booey in and Dr. McDonnell saw him walk, he said, 'He looks like an hours-old newborn foal.' Dr. McDonnell diagnosed cervical stenosis, also known as Wobbler's Syndrome. He put Booey on non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medication, and said if it worked well—which it did—that Booey would be a good surgical candidate."
Throughout this time, Victoria was communicating with members of Neuro Dogs on Facebook, a group of owners of Great Danes, Dobermans, German Shepherd Dogs and Mastiffs that have neurological problems. She continues, "The information on the web about Wobbler's is outdated. Without this group I likely would have been turned off to surgery, but with their encouragement and Dr. McDonnell's previous good results and his honesty about the worst case scenario, I made the decision to go ahead with the surgery."
The results, she says, were miraculous. "Within 24 hours of surgery on March 18th he was up on his feet and walking. It seemed like overnight he was back and better than ever! He still has some recovery to go, but the change in him is enormous."
She concluded in her email to Dr. McDonnell, "I am grateful for you and your team for taking such excellent care of not just my dog, but my friend, Baba Booey. It's a relief to know that he has a fighting chance to actually be around for a while now - thanks to your care."
Victoria has posted videos of Baba Booey and his friends on YouTube.
Photo above: Booey after his surgery, his surgical scar quite evident. In the third video, it's no longer visible.