Reilly, my beloved Irish Setter, came into my life on July 2nd, 1999. He was eight weeks old and a handful. For many years he has been my faithful friend and companion and we have a good life together. Despite some arthritis in his shoulders that was diagnosed when he was about eight years old, he has always been a happy dog and in good health.
One day when Reilly was 11, he suddenly collapsed. He was unable to walk. Our regular vet advised that his problem was likely neurological and referred us to a specialist. He was then examined by a neurologist at an animal specialty hospital north of Seattle and underwent tests over the next couple days. He was found to be in generally good health, but X-rays suggested and an MRI confirmed that he had a spinal injury at the L6 disk with bilateral nerve root compression. In layman’s terms, he had a bulging disk in his lumbar spine that was compressing the nerves where they exited his spine. A surgical L6-S1 dorsal laminectomy (the removal of the posterior arch of the vertebrae) was performed a week later.