Andy was suffering from a life-threatening spinal condition which can sometimes affect small dogs with long bodies and short legs, like dachshunds.Young says that Andy is not only a great companion to her, but also to her late husband Robert, who passed away in August. When his health deteriorated, the dog became his source of constant love and compassion . Andy often cozied up to Robert in his recliner.When Loraine knew something wasn't right with her husband's "best buddy" she took him to Saint Francis Veterinary Center outside Philadelphia where doctors told her he needed emergency spine surgery .
Focus on the Human-Animal Bond. “Dogs and cats have broken down the walls of our hearts. There haven’t been comparable domesticated species in 5,000 years.” For Dr. Becker, it’s clear that pets and people have evolved to benefit each other. He explains, “When you’re petting them, you both get this massive release of oxytocin, prolactin, dopamine, and a decrease in cortisol. It’s a reciprocal biochemical spa treatment.” As they age, it can be easy to take pets for granted. Make time for a little human-animal bonding every day.
The procedure was necessary but also very risky, as Andy’s bones and blood vessels all fit into a space as small as a human finger.Luckily for Andy, Saint Francis surgeons had recently teamed up with doctors at Thomas Jefferson University in a revolutionary program. Andy was to be the first patient — that is, pet patient — to take advantage of new technology that could create a 3D print of his spine to guide doctors just where they needed to go during the operation.
These 3D prints have become increasingly used in surgery on humans, especially for complicated procedures like organ transplants. But this was the first time a dog benefited from the technology before undergoing spine surgery.A 3D print of Andy's spine acted as a road map for Dr. Mark Magazu, showing him in unprecedented detail where to go."When operating you don’t always know what’s on the other side of the tumor," said Dr. Magazu. "But this you can hold it, see every bone, muscle, nerve from every angle," he explained, showing the incredible detail the print provides.
Andy's surgery was a success but sadly, Loraine's husband Robert passed away last month."I certainly wish my husband were here to see it," Young said. "He would have been very happy about it."
INTERESTING FACT ABOUT YOUR PET: Having a pet in the home can actually lower a child’s likelihood of developing related allergies by as much as 33 percent. Children exposed early on to animals tend to develop stronger immune systems overall.
Andy is now on the mend, and doing physical therapy twice a week to regain strength in his legs. And incredibly, he is now wagging his tail again.
"I think he's doing very well," said Young. "He runs. You know, I try to curtail him a bit. He does run."