A dog whose quality of life had spiraled downwards due to an incredibly rare disease is back to enjoying walks after treatment at a County Durham animal hospital.

Deazel the 13-year-old, Hungarian Vizsla, from Llanafan Fawr, Powys, contracted a rare disease only previously been described in humans, called ‘neck tongue syndrome’.

The usually very active dog first started having problems a couple of years ago. It reached a critical point with a major medical incident that left him with severe head and neck pain and a tendency for a deviated tongue.

A referring vet noticed a trigger point near Deazel's first cervical vertebrae with him having unusual tongue behavior.

The Northern Echo: Deazel is back on the hills again after treatment for a rare disease usually only seen in humans

It was from here that he was referred to renowned Wear Referrals, based in Bradbury, County Durham, where he was seen by Clare Rusbridge, a senior neurologist and professor in verterinary neurology.

The pain was found to be a dysfunction or disease of nerve roots in the upper neck around the C1 nerve root.

He then underwent advanced imaging including MRI and CT scans to rule out any structural causes before making the decision to ‘block’ the C1 and C2 nerve root to see if it made any improvement.

Deazel then underwent detailed diagnostics under Clare’s expert care and head of anaesthesia Felipe Grados performed some extremely skillful work injecting Deazel at C1 and C2 nerve roots.

The Northern Echo: Deazel the Hungarian Vizla made a 560 mile round journey to County Durham for treatment on a disease called neck tongue syndromeDeazel the Hungarian Vizla made a 560 mile round journey to County Durham for treatment on a disease called neck tongue syndrome (Image: WEAR REFERRAL)

Making the long trip to the North East from Wales was a decision made after owner Kate Adams had seen several specialists in multiple locations.

She said: “I set out on the 560-mile round trip from my hometown in Powys to see Clare at Wear Referrals in County Durham and it was worth every single mile of the journey.”

Several months later the outcome of the procedure is positive with Deazel returning to normal.

Kate added: “Clare was exceptional, not only her considerable expertise in diagnosing Deazel and her treatment plan but also her empathy. She is clearly a huge animal lover.

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“I took Deazel back to Wear Referrals for a check-up four months after the injections and he greeted Clare very enthusiastically - he clearly remembered her, which was lovely to see.

“His quality of life is now much improved. He is now a much happier, more comfortable dog overall.”

Clare said: “It was a true team effort to treat Deazel. From the keen observations of his referring vet to the precise needle placement by our skilled anesthetist Felipe Grados, it was a truly multidisciplinary collaboration.”