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March 2015 VMC Pain Management Patient of the Month

Nikkos 3-2014

Nikkos’ Story

Nikkos is our thirteen and a half year old, beloved, Coton de Tulear. Between my mother and I we have four Cotons, each with a unique personality and each is very special to us. In the fall of 2013, Nikkos began to display some fairly significant signs that he was in severe pain; he had been diagnosed by his veterinarian Dr. Erin Corrigan from Fairmount Animal Hospital a few years earlier with degenerative disk disease, however, he was never in this much discomfort. He could barely use his hind legs at all. They would shake, cross with one another or give out on him continually. He sat to go to the bathroom, could no longer use his steps to get on and off the furniture and would shake throughout the days with pain. It was truly heartbreaking to watch. After bringing him to Dr. Corrigan they suggested that we bring him to the Veterinary Medical Center for an evaluation by The Pain Management Service. We visited both Dr. Burnett and Dr. Fleckenstein every other day for about two weeks, trying various medications, but still to no avail. I was now staying up throughout the nights, sitting, while holding Nikkos tightly wound in a baby blanket, on his back, which gave him little relief. I was feeding him baby food from my fingertip and propping a pillow under his head whenever he would try to “relax” to give him some relief from whatever was occurring with his spine/disks in his back. We rushed Nikkos into the emergency room, with all his comforting possessions, with the idea of having him stay for a 48-hour “pain holiday” with hopes that with him being still at the hospital would bring some lasting relief to the spine. Every time we did so he appeared slightly better so it never came to this. A couple of times when we brought him in we weren’t sure if we would be bringing him home after talking about his quality of life with the doctors. To our surprise, Nikkos did eventually turn a corner; he began eating, wagging his tail, sleeping through the night, and walking upright. The doctors were more than persistent with finding just the right combination of medications for him, which was a significant factor. We also had acupuncture sessions, and physical therapy with Lis Conarton. This past summer we purchased a dog stroller for him which he enjoys greatly and he continues to see Lis about once a month. I cannot say enough about how exceptional everyone at the Veterinary Medical Center has been to Nikkos in our desperate time of need. Without them, it is very likely that Nikkos would not have recovered as he did and there would be a huge hole in our family. Thank you, from the bottom of our hearts, Veterinary Medical Center for all you have done to restore our pup’s quality of life and give us more time with him. We will be forever grateful. ~The Brundin Family

Nikkos’ issues:

  • Degenerative Disk Disease
  • Compensatory Pain and Spasms

Current Treatments:

  • Acupuncture
  • Laser therapy
  • Multi Modal Pain Management Program
  • Mobilization & Massage
  • Nutrition & Supplements
  • Home Exercise Program


  • VMC Pain Management Service's Patient of the Month November 2014 Coco CoCo: 17 year old Shih-Tzu Cervical Pain and Right Forelimb Lameness Current Treatments: Multi Modal Pain Management Program Acupuncture Mobilization & Massage Laser Therapy Home Exercise Program Nutrition & Supplements In August of 2013 we thought we would have to put down our beloved Coco. He was suffering from severe back pain. At times he could not lie down. Coco was in a great deal of pain. Walking was very difficult also, so much so that we would carry him around. We had Coco on many medications for the pain, however, it was not enough. At times he was still barely able to walk. We were recommended to the Veterinary Medical Center by our veterinarian Dr. Megan Williams from Animal Wellness of Skaneateles. Dr. Williams thought that with a good evaluation by their Board Certified Orthopedic Surgeon, Dr. Robinson, they could make some recommendations for other therapies that Coco may benefit from.  Those therapies turned out to be acupuncture with Dr. Michelle Burnett and Physical Rehabilitation with laser treatments with Lis Conarton. Lis showed my husband and I how to work through Coco's exercises. Dr. Burnett was so patient with Coco while trying to get his needles in place for his acupuncture. Who knew that a 10 lb dog needed two people to hold him in place at times? The first month brought very good results. Coco was 17 yrs. old at this time. His gait became much stronger and more balanced and his pain was much less. We have worked with Dr. Burnett on his pain management medications. This took some trial and error, but we were fortunate to get the right combination of meds to help manage Coco’s pain. At first we started coming every 2 weeks for treatments and after a few months were able to taper off to once a month which is where he continues today. All this hard work paid off. Over one year later we are still going once a month.  Coco will be 18 years young in February. He is able to get around fine now: at times he will even attempt to sit up on his hind legs which he used to do all the time. When he is feeling really good (which is most days now) he will run around  the back yard like he used to. Without all the hard work of Dr. Burnett and Lis, Coco would not have the quality of life he has gotten back. Like for all of us it is all about the quality of life and being able to enjoy it. You can tell from his picture he has it back!!!! Thank You Dr. Burnett & Lis                                                                                                          ~ Coco’s Family “Education may be key in understanding the link between species, however one will learn the most while quietly observing.” ~Lis Conarton



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