MRI Miracles

Meet Sasha

Breed: Dachshund
Age: 7 years 7 months
Gender: Female
Symptoms: Holding head down and screaming out.  Also lifting up left paw.
Sasha’s owner brought her to the emergency veterinary hospital after she began holding her head down and lifting her left paw up.  Her owners explained that the symptoms came on suddenly and they did not recall any recent injury.  Sasha was clearly in pain and her owners were just beside themselves with worry.  During the physician examination, Sasha continued to scream out in pain.  X-rays of her spine were taken but they came back inconclusive.  The Veterinarian suggested that Sasha undergo an MRI scan.  MRI is excellent at differentiating soft tissue and is the gold standard in diagnosing conditions related to disease of the spine.  An MRI was performed and Sasha was diagnosed with Intervertebral Disk Disease (IVDD).  IVDD is a hereditary disc herniation disease, not an injury.  It is more common to find this condition in dogs, such as Dachshunds, with dwarfed legs.  IVDD causes spinal discs to lose moisture and harden, therefore the discs age prematurely and become more susceptible to herniation.  The MRI revealed that, in addition to IVDD related herniation at C2-C3, Sasha was also suffering from left-sided herniation causing compression on the spinal cord.  Since Sasha’s condition was quickly diagnosed, the proper course of treatment was immediately put into place and she is now comfortable and pain free. 

Meet Milly

Breed: Boston Terrier
Age: 8 years
Gender: Female
Symptoms: Seizures
Milly’s owner brought her to the veterinary hospital after she started having seizures.  Her first seizure was two weeks prior to the visit.  Last week she had another seizure and yesterday she experienced three more.  Milly does not have any other known health conditions and does not take any medication.  The seizures were incredibly frightening and a complete shock to Milly’s owners.  An MRI scan was immediately ordered to rule out a brain tumor.  Just like in human medicine, MRI is the veterinary tool of choice to diagnose the cause of a seizure.  Until recently, veterinary seizure patients did not have convenient or affordable access to MRI.  Thankfully, MRI is now much more readily available and is now the diagnostic tool of choice when treating seizure patients.  Prior to the routine use of MRI, dogs who experienced a seizure were routinely prescribed oral medication.  Unfortunately, medication does not control seizures when a dog is suffering from a brain tumor.  Sadly, in years past, dogs suffering from tumors were sent home and experienced additional and progressively more severe seizures.  In cases where there is no tumor, treating the patient with medication is often helpful.  We are happy to report that Milly’s MRI scan came back normal and she is successfully being treated with anti-seizure medication.

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