Alphie is a very shy, sweet personality and is precious beyond words to his owner.  He is a thin dog and only middle aged – to young to be walking with such a significant limp.  It seemed that one of his rear legs or something in his rear end was painful.

He had visited at least one other veterinarian in Danville, Virginia and diagnosed with a possible cruciate ligament rupture.  The vet was unable work with him because he was to “mean,” and Alphie was sent to see a specialist in Greensboro, North Carolina.

The specialist was unable to examine Alphie, but was confident that it was not a cruciate ligament rupture that was causing the problem.  Alphie was treated with non-steroidal anti-inflammatories to no avail.  He was still very painful and his owner had to be very careful not to hurt him when picking him up, or walking him.

When Alphie came to Mount Hermon Family Vet, he was wary of animal hospitals and kept himself curled up under the chair, protected behind his owner’s legs.  Dr. Smith came in the room, introduced himself and took Alphie’s medical record and went to the corner of the room and sat on the floor!

This seemed a little strange at first, but as Dr. Smith and the owner talked about the chain of events that brought Alphie to this visit, Dr. Smith would throw little dog treats along the floor just close enough for Alphie to reach from the safety of his hiding space.  Alphie liked the treats and would venture out from under the chair to reach the treats that didn’t quite make it to him and over the next 10 minutes, he was taking the treats from Dr. Smith hand.  Dr. Smith started the pet Alphie and they made friends that day.

Dr. Smith notice that Alphie had a hump in the middle of his back and was walking very stiffly.  With some gently and careful manipulation, Dr. Smith was able to get a blood sample from Alphie and take an X-ray of his spine.

It turns out that Alphie had a serious case of discospondylitis.  He had an infection in his spine that was causing the pain in his lower back that radiated down his legs.  Alphie went on to a consultation with a veterinary neurologist and was on long term antibiotics.

Alphie fully recovered from the disease and lives happily now without any side effects!

Dr. Smith has a special interest in animal behavior and recognized the shyness and fear in Alphie immediately and knew that he would have to develop a trust with Alphie before trying to examine Alphie or run any tests.  Animals experience emotional stress as well as physical pain and recognizing that made a big difference in Alphie’s life.