Frequently Asked Questions
Q: WHAT IS DISK DISEASE?
A: DISK DISEASE, OR "DISK RELATED SPINAL PROBLEMS", IS A COMPLEX SUBJECT. GOOD UNDERSTANDING OF 'DISK DISEASE' IS CRITICAL FOR GOOD DECISION MAKING. Treatment options for disk related problems, or the best treatment for disk related problems...varies. For some dogs the best treatment will clearly be surgery. For other dogs the best treatment will be a conservative course of time, rest and medications, or alternative options like acupuncture. Not all disk problems are alike. Variations in severity, location of the problem in the spine, type of dog effected, age and concurrent medical conditions are all important considerations when prescribing the most appropriate treatment in an individual dog...or cat for that matter. Very often, milder signs associated with some disk-related problems will go away with nothing more than time and rest. In other cases, the signs may be severe, recurring, or just fail to improve with time. In those cases, surgery is often the best treatment. Certain types of disk problems can be addressed with surgery with greater than 90% success; this means getting your dog back to normal, or very near normal. Other disk-related problems may have lower rates of surgical success and higher rates of complication. What is most important is that the person advising you with regard to treatment has experience and is aware of the many options, their success rates, recurrence rates, etc. There is ALWAYS more than one option for treating disk disease in dogs. Disk related problems in cats is relatively rare, but the treatment options are largely the same as in dogs.
Q: IS MRI AVAILABLE FOR PETS?
A: YES. MRI CAN BE ARRANGED BY DR. MAGUIRE FOR YOUR PET IF INDICATED. A CONSULTATION WITH DR. MAGUIRE IS NECESSARY BEFORE MRI CAN BE ARRANGED. THIS IS TO MAKE SURE MRI IS INDICATED AND TO DISCUSS IF THERE ARE LESS COSTLY ALTERNATIVES TO MRI.
Q: IS MRI SAFE FOR PETS?
A: YES. DR. MAGUIRE HAS BEEN TAKING PETS FOR MRI SINCE 1996. HE OVERSEES THE MRI, CAN DISCUSS PRELIMINARY RESULTS RIGHT AWAY, AND ADMINISTERS THE SEDATION NECESSARY FOR YOUR PET TO HAVE MRI (FULL ANESTHESIA IS NOT NECESSARY!). IMMEDIATELY AFTER THE MRI, YOUR PET CAN GO HOME. THERE IS NO RADIATION WITH MRI.
Q: IS SPINAL SURGERY FOR DOGS A REALLY BIG DEAL? WILL THE RECOVERY PERIOD BE AWFUL?
A: NO AND NO. IN MOST CASES, SPINAL SURGERY IN DOGS IS MUCH EASIER TO GO THROUGH THAN IT IS FOR PEOPLE. SUCCESS RATES AFTER SURGERY FOR UNCOMPLICATED DISC PROBLEMS IS > 90%. NOT ALL DISK PROBLEMS ARE UNCOMPLICATED, BUT MOST ARE. SOME PETS ARE ABLE TO GO HOME THE DAY OF, OR THE DAY AFTER THEIR SURGERY. BEING ABLE TO ACCURATELY PREDICT THE SUCCESS AND RATES OF COMPLICATION WITH SPINAL SURGERY COMES WITH EXPERIENCE. DR. MAGUIRE HAS BEEN DOING UPWARDS OF 90 SPINAL SURGERIES A YEAR SINCE 1998.
Q: DO I NEED A REFERRAL FROM MY FAMILY VETERINARIAN?
A: WHILE A DIRECT REFERRAL FROM YOUR FAMILY VETERINARIAN IS NOT ESSENTIAL, IT IS PREFERRED. ASK YOUR VETERINARIAN FOR A REFERRAL FOR A NEUROLOGY/NEUROSURGERY CONSULTATION WITH DR MAGUIRE, AND THEIR OFFICE CAN HELP SEND PERTINENT MEDICAL RECORDS AND INFORMATION DIRECTLY TO DR. MAGUIRE'S OFFICE. UPON REQUEST BY YOU OR YOUR VET, A REFERRAL FORM CAN BE SENT TO YOUR VETERINARIAN; REFERRAL FORMS HELP DR. MAGUIRE UNDERSTAND THE NATURE OF THE PROBLEM FOR WHICH REFERRAL IS SOUGHT.
Q: HOW DO I MAKE AN APPOINTMENT? HOW DOES MY FAMILY VET INITIATE A REFERRAL TO DR. MAGUIRE?
A: MAKE AN APPOINTMENT BY CALLING AMIGO ANIMAL CLINIC (970-245-0210) OR CONTACT DR. MAGUIRE DIRECTLY HERE. ITS ALSO POSSIBLE TO HAVE AN APPOINTMENT WITH DR MAGUIRE AT YOUR REGULAR FAMILY VETERINARY CLINIC HERE IN THE GRAND VALLEY. ASK YOUR VETERINARIAN TO ARRANGE THIS APPOINTMENT OR CALL AMIGO ANIMAL CLINIC.