This is Hurcules’ story. He was diagnosed with a spinal tumor and successfully treated.
Hurcules is a 9 year-old male Boxer that presented to Southeast Veterinary Neurology for evaluation of difficulty walking in all four legs. His symptoms were subtle at first, however he slowly progressed to having episodes of collapse in which he could not walk. He was evaluated by his primary veterinarian and a neurological problem was suspsected. Prednisone was prescribed which helped him regain the ability to walk, and he was referred to Southeast Veterinary Neurology for further evaluation.
Here is a video of Hurcules at his initial examination.
Hurcules is able to walk, but is weak in all four legs. The front limbs are worse than the rear limbs and the left side is more affected than the right. Notice how he is long-strided and ‘floaty’ in the front limbs, especially the left side. When he turns, he crosses over the front limbs. He knuckles over in the front limbs. He is alert and the nerves around his head (cranial nerves) are normal. These are hallmarks of a problem in the spinal cord of the neck.
Possible causes include a slipped disk, malformation, cancer, meningitis or other less likely cause. Blood tests and X-rays were normal. A high-field MRI of Hurcules’ cervical spine was recommended.
Sagittal MRI of Hurcules’ neck showing a meningioma at C2-3. This view is similar to a lateral radiograph, however, note the increased soft tissue detail and lack of superimposed structures.
Dorsal plane image of Hurcules’ neck. This is a similar view as a VD radiograph. Note the large mass compressing the spinal cord toward the right (left in the image).
Axial “slice” image at the level of C2-3. This image is made in a plane perpendicular to the other two. Dorsal is toward the top of the image. The patient’s right side is on the left of the screen, as if the head were coming out of the computer screen. Note the large, contrast-enhancing (white) mass compressing the spinal cord to the right (left side of the image). This is a meningioma which was later removed.
A surgical approach to the cervical spine was performed and a left-sided hemilaminectomy was performed at C2-3. The mass was gently removed.
Hurcules did remarkably well after surgery. The type of tumor is called a meningioma, which tend to be slow-growing tumors.
Here is a video of him at his suture removal appointment. He has continued to improve and has a new lease on life.
Thank you to Dr. Balko, Dr. Koscielniak and Dr. Valderrama at Faithful Companions Animal Hospital for trusting Southeast Veterinary Neurology to care for Hurcules, and thank you to his family for giving us the chance to help! If you have any questions about Hurcules’ case or any other neurological condition, please feel free to call us at (305) 274-2777.