Spinal Cord Tumor in a 2yr old Dog

Presented was a 2yr old female Labrador Retriever for evaluation of sudden onset of hind limb paralysis.  The owner said the animal lost use of her hind limbs 4 days ago after playing in the back yard.  The paralysis started on the right side and then rapidly progressed to the left.  On exam, then dog was in great physical shape, no signs of trauma, but had loss of use of both hind limbs.  The temperature was normal with no other signs of infection.  After the completion of the exam, the lesion was determined to be located around the T12 to L1 area of the spinal cord.  We then proceeded with an MRI of this region.  After completing the MRI, a large invasive tumor was seen extending from the aorta to the spinal cord.  The spinal cord was being displaced to the left side.  The radiologist diagnosed an aggressive tumor, probably a nephroblastoma or lymphoma.  Since the prognosis was poor for return of function, the owner opted for Humane Euthanasia.  This case demonstrates that not all tumors are found in older pets and that the MRI gave us the ability to correctly diagnose the animal so a proper treatment could be implemented to save the animal suffering from treatments that would have just prolonged suffering.  In other cases, a fast and accurate diagnosis would allow us to treat appropriately and save a life.