Elvis was all shook up.
The nine-year-old male Pekingese had a history of chronic neck and back pain that wasn't responding to activity restriction, anti-inflammatories and steroids after 18 months of treatment. Even after restricting his jumping, running and playing, and seeing some improvement, Elvis's mom Wendy noticed that he would lift his leg as if he was in pain. During a play session with his younger brother, Elvis yelped in pain and began arching his back. His head drooped and he became non-weight bearing on his leg.
Elvis's owners rushed him to Pet+E.R. in Towson, where they performed radiographs and determined that he needed to see Dr. McDonnell. Elvis was able to get an appointment at Dr. McDonnell's office in Annapolis, where he recommended a double study MRI. The scans of Elvis's back (t/l/s spine) and neck (c/t spine) showed that Elvis would require two surgeries to correct his problems. Elvis's owners were nervous, but felt reassured by Dr. McDonnell.
"Dr. McDonnell was so nice from the very beginning. He got down on the floor with Elvis and interacted with him like he was a person, or like Dr. McDonnell was a dog," Wendy said. "A lot of vets really love animals but they don't always get down on the floor with them and interact. It was so nice to have somebody who we could tell really cared about our pet."
After their appointment with Dr. McDonnell, Elvis's owners scheduled two concurrent surgeries to address his back and neck issues. He spent three nights in the hospital recovering and was sent home with instructions to keep Elvis crated and away from his little brother. Though his owners said he missed his brother, they did their best to keep him quiet. Even during the blizzard, one week after his surgery, Elvis wanted to climb on snow banks and romp in the snow. At his follow-up appointment one month later, Dr. McDonnell declared that Elvis had recovered and was released to return to full activity.
Elvis is happy, healthy and back to playing with his family.
"I don't know what we would've done because he was in so much pain," said Elvis's mom. "He's our baby and he had many more years ahead of him and this surgery made it able to keep him longer."