Nolan at the Animal MRI Center


MRI and CSF analysis are integral tests in the diagnosis of most central nervous system diseases and particularly in identifying the cause of epilepsy (seizures). Animal MRI Center at Veterinary Care Specialists was developed to provide high quality, affordable MRI imaging to veterinary patients. By helping clients have greater access to MRI through providing a more affordable service, more clients will be able to pursue the other treatments necessary for their pets after the MRI is completed. 

Recently, Animal MRI Center at Veterinary Care Specialists celebrated its 2 year anniversary. Over those 2 years we have had the good fortune to care for many canine and feline patients. We have also had the opportunity to assist some animals at various humane organizations that would have otherwise been euthanized if we had not donated our facilities and expertise to their care. Nolan is one of these fortunate individuals.


Nolan was under the care of the Capital Area Humane Society. He was one of a litter of pups that had been rescued from a very unfortunate set of circumstances. All of the pups had found homes, except for Nolan. Nolan had recently developed seizures, the Humane Society was having a hard time finding foster care givers because he was so difficult to care for and his seizures were occurring frequently. They asked if Dr. Hass and Animal MRI Center would help and Nolan was brought to our offices.


Nolan, at 4 months was animated and active, almost frenetic in his behavior. He was seizing daily, often multiple times, and he was intolerant of confinement, barking constantly. He was wobbly and uncoordinated and no one had been able to successfully house train him. Nolan, was quickly becoming a un-adoptable dog.


Our goals were, to establish the underlying cause of Nolan’s seizures, and to treat any underlying causes identified while instituting anticonvulsant therapies that would reduce the frequency and severity of his seizures. Once we were able to implement these plans, the hope would be that he could remain in a consistent and structured foster care situation where he would receive his medications and begin learning skills like house training, accepting being confined in a crate, and interacting appropriately with other family members.


Nolan was admitted to Veterinary Care Specialists. Preliminary blood testing and thoracic radiographs were normal. Nolan was anesthetized and a MRI of his brain was performed and found to be normal.

IMG_3204.jpgAn example of a normal canine brain MRI image

While he was anesthetized, Dr. Hass performed a cisternal cerebral spinal fluid (CSF) tap and fluid was collected for cytologic evaluation, protein and glucose levels, bacterial culture and sensitivity and to check for other infectious agents. Cerebral spinal fluid is the fluid that bathes the brain and spinal cord. It serves many functions, but chief among them are the support and protection of the cells and structures of the central nervous system. Any change that occurs within the brain or spinal cord, particularly those areas that are exposed to CSF, will cause resultant changes in the fluid. CSF allows us to indirectly samplAlthough Nolan’s MRI was normal, his CSF was abnormal. Because of the type of cells present within the CSF as well as the results of all the other tests he was placed on steroids to reduce the inflammation identified in the fluid and an anticonvulsant. With the benefit of these medications, careful monitoring and repeat visits to VCS as well as  the efforts of the foster caregivers, Nolan’s behavior improved, his seizures diminished and he was able to be placed up for adoption. Even though Nolan’s encephalitis had resolved and his seizures had also become extremely infrequent, Nolan still needed a special family that was willing deal with daily medications and continued management of his seizures.


Recently, Dr. Hass had the pleasure of seeing Nolan, now named Nova, with part of his new family. He now lives in the Bay City area and he lives with a boy who also has epilepsy. Nova was very well mannered during his visit made sure he stayed close to his new ‘mom’.







Posted on January 28, 2018
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