Big Cat MRI at Animal Care Imaging
On the day after Christmas, Simba, our 20 year old leopard, bit off the end of his tail. We didn’t see it happen, but he was fine at 9 amand by 9:30 am he was missing more than 6 inches of his tail. There was no sign of a struggle at any edge of the cage, and there had been keepers in the area, so we were dumbfounded.
Simba has been on medication for arthritis and has recently been getting cold laser therapy to help with that pain, but we didn’t know if he bit himself because of pain, or because of being groggy from the pain medications. For the next couple of days Big Cat Rescuers arranged to sit with him in 2-4 hour shifts to make sure he didn’t bite his tail or feet and to try and keep him comfortable.
On Dec. 30 Dr. Wynn consulted with Dr. Anne Chauvet who made arrangements for Simba to get an MRI at the Animal Care Imaging. This was our first time at this facility so we did not take our Media Producer, but I wish we had. This is a very unique operation and a real game changer in concept. Simba’s MRI, diagnosis and operation took three hours so I had a long time to talk with Chris Campbell, one of the owners.
In human medicine we are all familiar with how one gets an MRI. Your doctor sends you to a place with the equipment, operators, techs, and experts who interpret the hundreds of brightly colored images and then your doctor knows exactly what needs to be treated. In 22 years of caring for big cats, we have only had an MRI done four times because to do so meant that we had to find a human MRI owner who would let us sneak in after hours, and then we would have to find a vet who could read the results, then we would have to schedule a later time, back at our own vet’s office to do the surgery. That took a LOT of coordination, a lot of secrecy, multiple trips across town and the last time it happened was in a storm where all power was lost right in the middle.
The people behind the Animal Care Imaging came up with an ingenious way to make an MRI available, affordable and understandable to any vet.
In a building right next to the Fletcher exit on I-275 in Tampa, they have a huge, open type floor plan inside a secure 2 story modern structure with lots of parking. They have the MRI room, a large waiting area, and office spaces. On the second floor, accessible by a large elevator, they have more private rooms, evaluation rooms and an operating room. All of these rooms are spacious, well lit and have state of the art CT Scan, and High Field MRI diagnostic tools. They offer an MRI expert to do the imaging and, because it is all digital, they can bring in experts for consultation on the results as well if the attending vet isn’t versed in the latest MRI technology and interpretation.
Any vet can make arrangements to have their client bring their pet to Animal Care Imaging, and can use the equipment to do their own diagnostics. If surgery is needed, it can be done right there, on the spot, with all of the latest and greatest equipment and supplies. The vet retains their own clients, and can offer services that they might never be able to afford to offer otherwise. The vet chooses their own pricing to the client and can make it more affordable to their client than any current MRI provider because the Animal Care Imaging makes it affordable to the vet.
If the vet doesn’t feel like they have the expertise needed, there are vets who already use the services at Animal Care Imaging who are happy to assist. I was impressed with the facilities, the wonderful support staff and the wide array of diagnostic tools that are available to our vets at ACI and would certainly recommend them to pet owners and sanctuary owners as well. I have the feeling we will be adding them to speed dial.
In Simba Leopard’s case we were looking for spinal lesions or deterioration that might be causing Simba to chew at his extremities. Another reason we didn’t take a film crew is that we were pretty certain that this was going to be inoperable and that humane euthanasia would be the only kind thing to do. We didn’t find any obvious reasons for him to self mutilate this way, so we drew some samples from his wrists, to see if there is a change to his arthritis meds we could make, and decided to go ahead and amputate the tail short enough that he can’t reach it for more chewing. He’s old enough that we don’t think he can bend around that far to get at it.
Simba isn’t out of the woods yet though. We have to keep a close eye on him to make sure he doesn’t start chewing on his feet. We have our hospital webcam on him below, and will have keepers sit with him when he wakes more fully.
We don’t know if it is pain, senility, or just a one time event, such as a wasp sting, that started this whole ordeal for him, but thanks to Animal Care Imaging we know what it isn’t, and that is more than we knew this morning.
Below are videos taken just a couple weeks before. In them you can see how Simba was dragging his tail. At the time that seemed to be the least of his concerns, as we were trying to give him some relief in his wrists and ankles.
You can grab the photo of Simba to use here: http://bigcatrescue.org/big-cat-mri/ or his videos, if you want to add them.
The next cat we bring, we will come with a film crew and will be happy to share what we get with you to use as well. We thought this clinic belonged to Dr. Chauvet and have strong philosophical differences with vets who condone the use of wild animals as zoo, circus or pay to play props. We don’t believe wild cats should be bred for life in cages so we have had our differences with the vet community who doesn’t want to see that industry phased out. We came today because we needed access to a MRI, but did not want to advertise vets who we know try to thwart our efforts toward legislation that would end the private possession of wild cats.
I am really sorry we missed this opportunity to promote the great work you guys are doing there, but you can bet we will be sharing what we learned today. I have asked our Gift Shop manager to send 20 Free Passes to Chris Campbell’s attention for your staff to visit at their leisure. Happy to arrange a field trip for your staff if they want to come as a group as well.
Carole Baskin, CEO of Big Cat Rescue
“Judge me by the enemies I have made.” – Franklin D. Roosevelt
Author of Big Cat Care – How to Start a Sanctuary
12802 Easy Street Tampa, FL 33625
Office 813.920.4130 Cell 813.493.4564 Fax 885.4457
Celebrating 22 Years (1992-2014) of Caring for cats ♥ Ending the trade
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Facebook: Join more than 800,000 Big Cat Rescue fans http://www.facebook.com/BigCatRescue
When your pet is sick or dealing with a painful or unknown ailment, you want answers right away. That means having access to the best diagnostic tools available. At Animal Care Imaging that’s just what you can expect. As Tampa’s first full-service imaging center dedicated solely to the unique needs of animals, the Animal Care Imaging Center is the top choice for both pet owners and veterinarians looking for detailed answers to animal ailments. They specialize in the most advanced, state-of-the-art techniques and technology, including a 1.5 Tesla MRI and a Multi-Slice CT Scanner system for pets. Consult with our knowledgeable staff and doctor about our services so you can choose the best and most appropriate imaging approach for dogs, cats and other animals and exotics.
Diagnostic imaging is nothing new to the owners of Animal Care Imaging – for nearly 20 years they’ve owned and operated eight imaging centers for “human” patients. That means when it came time to design a facility for animal care, they knew from years of experience how to create an atmosphere to obtain top quality imaging.
ACI is also dedicated to advancing knowledge about imaging diagnostics and other veterinary care techniques, with facilities designed for CE level meetings and ample space for veterinarians and technicians alike to attend. Veterinarian practitioners from throughout the Tampa area and beyond regularly visit us to develop a keener understanding of treatment and care options that can help them provide more comprehensive and up-to-date services for their patients.
If you own a dog, cat or other small animal, you know how critical it is to have peace of mind regarding your pet’s care. When you need the most advanced diagnostic and treatment services for your beloved pet, ACI is there to help. To learn more about the services provided by Animal Care Imaging, explore the ACI website or call Animal Care Imaging at 813-977-1927.
Animal Care Imaging is dedicated to obtaining the best image quality along with providing Board-Certified professionals for a clearer diagnosis of your pets ailments. Dogs, cats and other small pets and exotics are patients we see in our state-of-the-art facility. Our High Field MRI and Veterinary radiologist team provides quick results, within 24 hours of the scan, as well as distribution to your primary doctor and referring veterinarian. We schedule appointments on an outpatient basis so no overnight boarding or invasive procedures are necessary.
What is an MRI?
MRI stands for magnetic resonance imaging, an imaging technique that provides incredibly detailed images of many different structures inside your pet’s body. Unlike an x-ray which uses radiation to visualize bones and other structures, an MRI uses a magnetic field and radio waves to produce cross-sectional images of organs, blood vessels, bones, tumors and more so your pet is never exposed to radiation.
When is an MRI used?
MRI is considered the gold standard for diagnosing brain and spinal injuries, diseases and deformities, replacing many of the invasive “exploratory” procedures of the past. MRI is also very effective at examining and evaluating issues concerning the musculoskeletal system including bones, ligaments, tendons and joints. The information derived from an MRI can help veterinarians and specialists determine your pet’s prognosis – for instance, determining the extent of a tumor or whether your pet will have mobility issues after a skeletal or spinal injury such as a herniated disc. All of this information can prove invaluable in helping pet owners make quality of life decisions for their pets.
How is an MRI performed?
Your pet will be comfortably positioned on a table surrounded by powerful magnets. When the scan begins, strong magnetic waves will be painlessly projected through your pet’s skin to “see” deep inside your pet’s body. The magnetic signals are converted into a series of three-dimensional cross-sectional images that allow the radiologist and your pet’s doctors to monitor your pet for diseases, illnesses and other medical conditions. MRIs are completely painless and noninvasive, and they provide a much more detailed view of your pet than any other imaging technique.
At Animal Care Imaging, we’ve performed MRI’s on hundreds of pet patients, and we’re skilled in obtaining the clearest, most comprehensive images in the least amount of time so your pet is always kept comfortable. As a leading provider of pet imaging in the Tampa area, you can rest assured we’ll provide your pet with the best of care.
We would like to cordially invite you to our open House and introduce our Medical Director
Dr. David Murphy ACI – Managing Veterinarian Former Staff Veterinarian at Tampa’s Lowry Park Zoo
Thursday October 2nd, 2014
6:00 PM to 9:00 PM
13336 North Central Avenue
Tampa, Florida 33612
Help Us Prepare RSVP To:firstname.lastname@example.org or 813-977-1927
Hors d’ Oeuvres and Drinks will be provide
Welcome to our website. ACI is Tampa Bay’s Premier Dedicated Animal Imaging Facility.
• Access to state-of-the-art diagnostic imaging facility featuring:
• 1.5 Tesla High Field MRI System
• Experienced Anesthesia Monitoring
• Testing Facility for Product Innovations and Education