Nico - March 2012

Nico, an 8 month-old Rottweiler presented to Southeast Veterinary Neurology for inability to stand and walk. He had a brief anesthetic procedure at the referring veterinarian’s office to remove a skin growth. Anesthesia was uneventful and he went home that afternoon.

That evening, the owner noted that Nico was sleepier than normal and seemed wobbly when he was walking, but attributed it to Nico’s anesthesia.

The following day, Nico re-presented to his regular veterinarian; however, at this point he was unable to stand and walk. He was referred to Southeast Veterinary Neurology. On examination, Nico was laterally recumbent. He did not respond to stimuli. He had ventral strabismus.

The remainder of cranial nerves were normal. When supported, he was flaccid in all four legs. Spinal reflexes were absent in the thoracic limbs and were normal in the pelvic limbs. Postural reactions were absent. He did not seem painful. Two days later, he was more alert but seemed excessively sleepy during the day. He would have episodes such as this one.

Note that this episode looks similar to a seizure–he seems unconscious, vocalizes, has involuntary facial twitches, and paddles. However, note that the episode can be stopped by distracting him.

The following day, he was more alert but seemed unable to move any of his legs.

At this point, I was suspicious of a particular disease, but wanted to see what his response to food would be.