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Saturday, September 26, 2015

the wheeled dog at Marina ~the kindness and care of its owner

The sands of Marina beach offer pristine beauty - the sandy shore running  from Fort St George to Besant Nagar, has a long history, conceived in 1884 and christened by Mount stuart Elphinstone Grant-Duff, the then governor of Madras. Crowds throng the beach on holidays and in summer to enjoy the cool sea breeze.  On the road side, many stone statues, some of them installed during the Tamil World Conference adorn the area.

Early morning the famous Marina beach offers intriguing things.  There are young, old, fast, slow, and varied people indulging in chit-chatting, eating and drinking the various health drinks ! that are sold on pavements.  You can see people walking, walking fasting, jogging, sprinting, skipping, doing physical exercises, yoga, laughing out loud – more –  pursuing their perceived ways of  passport to good health. Then there are pets – of varied hues – dogs of big and small – and this particular dog has been a regular for years now.

Human body is a mystery and health is wealth.  The spinal cord is a long, thin, tubular bundle of nervous tissue and support cells.   The brain and spinal cord together make up the central nervous system(CNS). The spinal cord begins at the occipital bone and extends down to the space between the first and second lumbar vertebrae; it does not extend the entire length of the vertebral column. The spinal cord functions primarily in the transmission of neural signals between the brain and the rest of the body but also contains neural circuits that can independently control numerous reflexes and central pattern generators.  It is very central to our body and some trouble in the spine could literally send shivers on the spine !

In an interesting report – health.com, reports of a paralyzed 26-year-old man being able to walk for the first time in five years, thanks to an electrical system that connects his brain and legs, bypassing his injured spine, researchers are reporting.

The unidentified man is the first person to show that a system like this might help people with a spinal cord injury regain some ability to walk, the researchers said. “The work does offer exciting promise,” said Randy Trumbower, an assistant professor in the department of rehabilitation medicine at Emory University School of Medicine in Atlanta, who was not involved with the research. That said, it “must overcome several hurdles before it may be applicable to a broad population of persons with spinal cord injury,” he added.  Study authors An Do and Zoran Nenadic, both at the University of California, Irvine, said they don’t yet know how the system will work in a larger population of people with paralysis.  The experimental system is appropriate for people who have spinal cord injuries to their upper to lower-middle backs and who don’t have other major problems, Do and Nenadic said.

Before he could try out the system, the man had to go through some muscle reconditioning to regain some strength in preparation for standing and walking. The system required him to wear a cap with electrodes, a backpack with an amplifier, a contraption called a Parastep that electrically stimulates the legs, and a belt with a controller for the Parastep.

Intervertebral disc disease (IVDD) is a condition where the cushioning discs between the vertebrae of the spinal column either bulge or burst (herniate) into the spinal cord space. These discs then press on the nerves running through the spinal cord causing pain, nerve damage, and even paralysis.  I never thought that animals too can have spinal problems -    slip disc – affecting dogs.  A web search indicates that breeds of dog that are predisposed to IVDD include the Dachshund, Beagle, Basset Hound, and Shih Tzu.

Made up of a gelatinous substance surrounded by a thick outer layer, intervertebral discs are basically the shock absorbers of the spine. There are two types of disc herniation seen in dogs: Type I and Type II, of which Type II generally has less severe signs and symptoms.

The dog which I had seen to be active and obedient following its masters [a woman and her husband] – was seen differently about a fortnight back.  Understand from its concerned owners that it developed spinal problems and with slipped disc, had trouble in movement – perhaps affecting the movement of its hind legs and lower limbs. It would have experienced great pain and was in no position to walk.

Its owners greatly moved by its plight, had made enquiries and found out that dogs with similar plight in foreign countries have a cart supporting its back portion and moving with its front legs.  It was not possible to take the dog to US where treatment is available, they could communicate to the Veterinary Doctors over there, providing all information of the dog, its problem, had it measured methodically and in the process found that the cart are in fact made in India too at Ludhiana and being exported.  With concern and care, they have custom-made a cart for their beloved pet and now bringing the dog to Marina beach, allowing it fresh air and then fixing the cart, enabling it to move.  The extended hind legs which look paralysed, now get cushioned on the wheels and the dog is able to move around with its tail a plume of joy.


The owners do deserve a word of appreciation for the kind act and care shown.

With regards – S. Sampathkumar
26th Sept. 2015.


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