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‘Just a miracle’: Paralyzed border collie begins to walk again after UC Davis surgery
River, the border collie, stuns the nation with his astonishing recovery just in time for the holiday season.
Following his unexpected collapse in October, a border collie named River suffered spinal injuries and was paralyzed from his hind legs down. Miraculously, after receiving neurosurgery 6 weeks ago from UC Davis veterinarians, River is now standing and beginning to walk again.
“He was fine, he was absolutely fine and then he wasn’t. He collapsed overnight,” said Linda Drafton, River’s owner. “I took him out in the morning, and you could see that there was something wrong. He was in pain.”
According to UC Davis veterinary neurology resident, Amanda Xue, DVM, River came into the facility after suddenly being unable to stand and walk on his own. After 6-weeks, the UC Davis staff marveled at his speedy recovery on Monday, December 20, 2021.
“River came in to see us one weekend after acutely unable to stand and walk on his own. So he was paralyzed in his back legs, couldn’t wag his tail, and came in through our emergency service for evaluation,” said Xue. “I was the neurology resident who looked at him, did the exam, and determined that there was something going on in the middle portion of his back.”
Initially, Xue and the UC Davis team performed an MRI and discovered that River had “a slipped disc essentially,” which, according to Xue, is when the discs that sit between each vertebrae can extrude or erupt and push up on the spinal cord. The identification of this condition prompted the UC Davis veterinarians to drill a hole in River’s back and extract the material that was compressing his spine.
“He exceeded my expectations,” remarked Xue. “He looked really, really good on his check-in exam…He’s walking on his own and wagging his tail. I’m really optimistic he’ll continue to make improvements. He’s done a lot of hard work to get where he is today.”
Apart from the tremendous efforts displayed by the entire UC Davis veterinary team, Drafton's dedication to working with the UC Davis Veterinary Medical Teaching Hospital’s animal clinic is an intricate part of this success story. After a ‘ruff’ 2 months, she is excited to have her dog back to mostly normal.
“He is so close to being himself again compared to what he was when I brought him down,” Drafton said. “I keep telling folks since I got here that this is a miracle. It’s a miracle this dog recovered like this. Just a miracle.”
She continued: “I was given a complete miracle. I got my Christmas and I don’t need anything else.”
Neurologists report that although River will need months of rehabilitation, his prognosis for recovery is steady.
Ruff recovery: Paralyzed border collie back on the move after UC Davis surgery. Here’s how. Sacbee.com. Accessed December 22, 2021. https://www.sacbee.com/news/local/article256737427.htm