On October 2, 2014 Dr. Peter Gordon, a veterinary neurologist at BBVSH, received a call from a referring veterinarian regarding ‘Sugar’ a 19 month old female Maltese.
Dr. Gordon learned that Sugar’s skull had been deformed since birth which was causing pressure on the brain stem. This in turn was causing spinal fluid to build up in her brain and spinal cord.
‘Sugar’s owner Connie had noticed a recent onset of ataxia, falling and imbalance. Connie was very concerned for ‘Sugar’ and wanted to know what she could do to help her.
The type of surgery that ‘Sugar’ required could only be performed by a board-certified veterinary neurologist (a veterinarian who as trained an additional 4 years specifically in neurology and who specializes in neurological disorders of the brain, spinal cord and peripheral nervous system).
‘Sugar’ and her owners live in Tucson, Arizona and were unable to find a board-certified veterinary neurologist available in the Tucson area required to do the necessary surgery. After speaking with Dr. Gordon, Connie and ‘Sugar’ made the trip from Tucson, Arizona to Langley, British Columbia the very next day. The surgery began just a few hours after their arrival.
The corrective surgery, a ‘caudal occipital craniotomy and dorsal laminectomy of C1’, involved the skull and the 1st vertebrae. The surgery lasted 2 hours, 20 minutes.
BBVSH shares a facility with the Animal Emergency Clinic of the Fraser Valley which is fully staffed 24/7/365. ‘Sugar’ was closely monitored by veterinarians and registered animal health technicians throughout the weekend. Randi Bjornson, RAHT, monitored ‘Sugar’ throughout the surgery and cared for her during her recovery.
‘Sugar’ recovered remarkably well and was discharged Monday afternoon. Connie and ‘Sugar’ stayed in the Langley area for a couple of nights before returning home to Arizona with ‘Sugar’. Connie says that her brother ‘Spice’ who is almost twice her weight was anxiously awaiting her return.
“It is truly heartwarming to see the lengths that someone would go through to help a friend. And, although ours was but a brief role in the lifetime of their friendship, I feel honored to have been given the opportunity to do what we could to help ensure that these two friends could stay together.” Dr. Peter Gordon