Success Stories

Meet some of the patients we have been privileged to care for at NGVS:

Bernie’s Story

How physical rehabilitation got Bernie back on his feet

Bernie was an 11-year-old St. Bernard mix who suddenly couldn’t stand. Tests at NGVS revealed that he had a ruptured disc in his neck that placed pressure on his spinal cord, causing paralysis of all four limbs.

He underwent surgery to decompress the spinal cord. While the surgery was successful, Bernie was slow to regain strength in his neck and legs. He could barely lift his head.

For some pet owners, the prospect of caring for a 50-plus-pound dog who might not regain the ability to walk for months – or ever – would have been too daunting, and they likely would have euthanized the animal. Bernie’s owner, however, is a retired nurse who understood the realities of the situation. She opted to give him time to heal and rehabilitate.

In early November, Bernie’s owner began bringing him in to NGVS for physical rehabilitation. His regimen began with basic exercises to build strength so he could lift his head, then sit with his legs under his body, crawl, stand, then take a few steps. He also underwent acupuncture treatments, and a friend of the owner helped with Bernie’s prescribed at-home exercises

After five painstaking months – and in time for his 12th birthday – Bernie was able to walk and trot normally, and even climb stairs – a testament to how much a dedicated pet owner and veterinary team can achieve. Bernie’s story was even featured in the local newspaper and on the local TV news (including video of him walking up to a BBQ restaurant to claim a plate of pulled pork to reward all his hard work!).

Bravo, Bernie!