At Canada West Veterinary Specialists, we are always inspired whenever one of our patients recovers. However, the exuberant and determined efforts of the animals that are guided through long processes of rehabilitation, following the development of life-altering conditions, are always particularly uplifting. Though the process of recovery can be arduous, the spirits of the animals that triumph consistently remind us of the incalculable potential of the will to recover.
Recently, we were exceptionally proud to see this indelible spirit highlighted on the website of Cesar Milan (the renowned dog-trainer and host of the popular television series “The Dog Whisperer with Cesar Milan”). Milan’s website hosts a series of videos posted by proud pet owners and recently, fans were asked to vote for their favourite video. It was an immense pleasure for the staff of Canada West to discover that a video featuring a patient of ours, a grey and white pit-bull named Elsa, proved to be a fan favorite.
Elsa came to Canada West after suffering from a devastating Fibrocartilaginous Embolism that, although quick and painless, paralyzed her back end. Following months of physiotherapy conducted at our facilities, Elsa began to show tremendous progress and is currently well on her way to recovery. It’s unlikely that Elsa will ever suffer from another FCE and, as witnessed in the video, is currently living a life full of activity.
Elsa perfectly fits the archetype for FCE, as this form of embolism often occurs in large breeds of dogs between the ages of 3 and 6. The embolism results when a piece of the soft gelatinous material from the inside of the animals’s intervertebral discs becomes dislodged and enters the arteries that feed into the dog’s spinal column. This creates blockage that prevents blood from entering sections of the dog’s spine and as a result leads to paralysis.
The video, which has already garnered over 18,000 views on YouTube, is made up of a series of different clips that highlight distinct stages of Elsa’s journey. It begins with a shot of Elsa undergoing therapy at our facilities, continues to images of her enthusiastically playing with a red ball in her backyard, and finishes with her doggedly (forgive the pun) making her way over the surface of a driftwood-strewn beach.
As Elsa’s inspirational efforts prove, the after effects of a Fibrocarilaginous Embolism can be mitigated with a strong program of physical therapy and the enthusiastic resilience of the affected canine. We’re incredibly proud to have worked with this extraordinary animal and are happy to see that she is continuing on the road to recovery.