A young pomeranian was referred to us at West Midlands Referrals and could not stand. The referring vet had already diagnosed atlantoaxial subluxation from xrays of the head and neck, viewing the neck from the side with the head in various degrees of flexion.
As the neck was flexed, their x-rays showed that a gap opened up where it shouldn’t have, at the place the arrows indicate. This indicated instability between the first cervical (neck) vertebra, the atlas, and the second one, the axis. This instability was stabilised with two small screws.
This surgery was fiddly in such a small dog, but the patient could stand within two days of surgery. He remained wobbly and needed help to stop him from pitching forwards. We discharged him into the owners’ care a few days post-operatively.
We saw him a few weeks later at our surgery at Burton-Upon-Trent, and his mobility was normal. The owner found restraining him challenging in the early postoperative period while healing progressed. He seemed to possess all of the self-preservation skills of a lemming, and he seemed hell-bent on diving off the sofa given half a chance!
11th November 2012