About MRIs (cont'd)
This procedure has many disadvantages. The risks can be significant. Consider:
- many animals are neurologically worse after this procedure o there is a chance of seizures
- it is time consuming and difficult to perform on very small or very large patients
- it requires a spinal tap in every case
- it often provides incomplete or inconclusive results due to many variables such as swelling, incomplete filling, or poor radiographic technique.
With the use of an MRI the animals are completely intact after the procedure: there is no increased chance of seizures, it is less time consuming, it can be performed on any size animal, it allows you to perform a spinal tap only when absolutely necessary, it is nearly always gives definitive results, and is not affected by swelling.
The only disadvantage of an MRI is that it can be a few hundred dollars ($200-$300) more expensive than a myelogram. For further proof of the procedure's value, MRI's can also be used to evaluate other areas of the body such as joints, brain, middle and inner ear, abdominal organs (kidneys, liver, adrenal glands, pancreas), and soft tissue problems (thyroid glands, soft tissue tumors). Most clients who pursue a referral to a specialist understand the cost of treatment and are willing to pay for the safest and most diagnostic modalities.
Veterinary Neurology History
The specialty of veterinary neurology was established in 1970. Since then, veterinarians who wish to become a neurologist must do the following:
- complete a one-year internship
- complete a 2-3 year residency program
- pass an exam given by the college of veterinary neurology
Currently there are approximately 110 board certified neurologists in the country. There is one in New Jersey, one on Long Island, and none in Connecticut. Dr. Joseph and Dr. Berg are the only two board-certified veterinary neurologists in the NYC metro area.
When To Consider an MRI
The MRI can be an effective diagnostic tool when the following symptoms are present:
- Neurologic - behavior, mentation changes, seizures, episodes, cranial nerve defecits, ataxia, paresis, lameness, pain
- Orthepedic - lameness, cruciate tears (ACL), tendon/ligament disorders
- Oncologic - presurgical planning
- Ophthalmologic - exophthalmos, blindness, pupillary disorders
- Other - nasopharyngeal signs, bullae disease, nasal disease, medical disease (Cushings)