Princess Spaghetti is an eight-pound Yorkshire terrier who is 15 ½ years old. Aside from a few bumps in the road, Spaghetti had been a healthy dog all of her life. Then in May 2014, her doting mother noticed she had a little sway to her hind end when she was standing. Princess Spaghetti came in to see her favorite veterinarian (Dr. Burgess), who diagnosed a possible disc compression in her back. We started Spaghetti on an anti-inflammatory drug with the hope it would relieve the inflammation and help her walk better.
But it didn’t. Spaghetti went through the spring and summer with ups and downs. The anti-inflammatory medication didn’t seem to have much effect on her condition, so it was stopped. Then in the fall of 2014, Spaghetti’s wobbly posture became worse. We tried an anti-inflammatory drug again and added another pain medication (Gabapentin). This helped, but for only a short while, so we discontinued the medications.
Spaghetti did fairly well through the spring and early summer of 2015, but she was back at Riverbend in August with worsening symptoms. She was very weak and wobbly in her hind end. She couldn’t stand for very long. It was clear that Spaghetti had some type of neuropathy (a disease process affecting her nervous system and spinal cord), but nothing we had done so far had helped to slow her symptoms or make her feel better.
Dr. Burgess suggested starting Adequan injections. Adequan is an injectable nutraceutical that helps reduce inflammation in the joints. Spaghetti started to feel better, and her owner was relieved. However, several months later, Spaghetti began to decline again.
Her mom was hoping for another way to help her little princess. Enter Laser Therapy. Spaghetti was a little worse after her first treatment. Melinda Harris, our certified canine rehabilitation specialist, assured her that this was quite normal after a dog’s first laser session; in fact, it was a good sign. It meant that Spaghetti’s tissues were amenable to receiving laser light. Spaghetti’s mom decided to continue with more sessions to see if we could improve her mobility and quality of life.
Sure enough, Spaghetti started to improve with each laser treatment. We did them frequently in the beginning, but now we are down to every two weeks. We have also reduced the frequency of the Adequan injections to every two weeks. Spaghetti came in recently and stood in the room for five minutes without falling — a new record for her! Her mom says she can navigate hardwood floors, wants to “run” outside, and even tried to jump off of a stair (albeit, unsuccessfully). Mom says Spaghetti is happier and more mobile than she has been in years.
Spaghetti is a testament to what a multi-modal approach to pain relief and osteoarthritis can do for pets. She is not on any traditional medications and is doing very well. She is one of many elder, arthritic dogs we treat successfully with laser therapy.
We love seeing little Princess Spaghetti in our office, and we hope we continue to see her for many more years to come!