NorthStar VETS Cool Case Zoey

The team at NorthStar VETS is doing innovative and amazing things every day as they work to advance the level of care available to your pet. This series of posts highlights cool cases at NorthStar VETS and the types of things done to save pets and improve their quality of life. These are cases using innovative and cutting-edge medical techniques, and/or stories of pets beating the odds. This is the story of Zoey, a patient of our Surgery team.

ZoeyAbout Zoey
Zoey is a 2-year-old, female, spayed, Belgian Malinois who came NorthstarVETS back on November 30 with a right forelimb lameness. She had a history of a right forelimb lameness over 7 weeks that had progressively gotten worse. Zoey is a working bomb-sniffing dog and she has been trained to do serious and dangerous field work. On physical examination, I could not elicit any pain from Zoey. She was incredibly stoic, so she was not giving me any clues as to what her problem was. Her blood test were normal and X-rays showed some degeneration of some of her cervical disks. She was asked to be rested and was started on some anti-inflammatory and pain medications.

Zoey’s Condition
Zoey rechecked with me on December 27. Her owner said that the medications did not help her, and that her lameness on the right forelimb was was even worse. We discussed doing some advanced imaging of the cervical spine and the right forelimb as Zoey still didn’t show much on her exams. The MRI was performed. We ruled out a cervical disk problem and saw no joint abnormalities. With Zoey under anesthesia, a complete orthopedic exam was redone. She appeared to have some right shoulder instability that was not able to be detected in her awake exam. Finally, we found the source of her lameness. She was diagnosed with a right medial shoulder instability. This is a relatively rare injury and it can be difficult to diagnose especially with a stoic patient.

Zoey-postopZoey’s Treatment
Zoey was scheduled for arthroscopic surgery to determine the extent of the injury and to repair her shoulder. The arthroscopic exam revealed a very large joint capsule tear that was causing the instability and pain. The shoulder could not be repaired by arthroscopic means. Zoey had a biceps tendon transposition to correct the problem. This involves freeing up the biceps tendon and moving it medially (to the inside) and securing it with a screw and washer.

How Things Went for Zoey
The procedure went well and Zoey was released from the hospital the next day. This type of repair involved a month of recovery and physical therapy. It is hopeful that Zoey will return to her important job in the next 3-6 months.

From the client perspective
Zoey2Ted is Zoey’s owner, and shared his experience with us as well. “Our decision to come to NorthStar VETS was a recommendation from Dr. Plunkett, Zoey’s primary care veterinarian at Wall-Belmar Animal Hospital. The doctors and staff at NorthStar VETS have a great reputation for professionalism, compassion, and caring for not only the animals they treat, but for the animal owners as well.

“Since Zoey has been home, she has been going through a daily regimen of physical therapy and rest that was prescribed by Dr. LoScrudato of the NorthStar VETS Rehabilitation team. Additionally, she has been following up with physical therapy appointments at NorthStar VETS and eventually will be doing aquatic therapy to maintain her range of motion and build strength. I have been keeping Zoey busy doing indoor scent detection training to keep her nose keen for the 33 different explosive odors she is responsible for detecting.”

Learn more about the Surgery service at NorthStar VETS

Laura Culbert, DVM, DACVSLaura Culbert, DVM, DACVS
Dr. Culbert has been part of the surgical team at NorthStar VETS since 2006. She received her veterinary degree from Cornell University in 1992, and completed an internship and surgical residency at the Animal Medical Center in New York City. She has conducted research in the areas of developmental biophysiology and muscular biochemistry, and her residency project focused on neurologic diseases in dogs and complications associated with steroid therapy. Dr. Culbert’s areas of interest in veterinary surgery include cardiothoracic surgery, oncologic surgery, plastic surgery and fracture repair, and she offers the tibial tuberosity advancement (TTA) procedure for large dogs and cranial cruciate ligament repair. Dr. Culbert has worked with various rescue groups over the years including Greyhound, Australian Shepherd, Jack Russell Terrier, Golden Retriever and Boxer rescue.

The information presented on this web site is not intended to take the place of your family veterinarian’s advice and is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease. Discuss this information with your own veterinarian to determine what is right for your pet. All information is intended for your general knowledge only and is not a substitute for medical advice or treatment for specific medical conditions. We can not and do not give you medical advice via this blog. The information contained in this online site and emails is presented in summary form only and intended to provide broad understanding and knowledge. The information should not be considered complete and should not be used in place of a visit, call, consultation or advice of your veterinarian. We do not recommend the self-management of your pet’s health problems.

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