January 28, 2013
Francesca was Diagnosed at Animal Specialty Center
If you follow me on Twitter, or if you read The Daily Wag, you may have heard that Francesca, one of my two French Bulldogs, has been confined to a crate while a bulging disc in her neck is allowed to heal. Quite suddenly, Francesca appeared to be having seizures and at first, my veterinarian thought she was suffering from epilepsy or even a brain tumor. My vet sent us to Dr. Richard Joseph, one of the co-founders of Animal Specialty Center, located in Yonkers, New York. Dr. Joseph is medical director, a staff neurologist, and veterinary acupuncturist. After examining Francesca and noticing that she was carrying her head low, he was quite certain that the problem was in her neck, which an MRI confirmed. He explained that between each pair of vertebrae there is an intervertebral disc, which he likened to a jelly donut. The outer ring is the cake part, which is filled with a thick, shock-absorbing material, the jelly. If that jelly dries up, it loses its ability to absorb and the calcified material can start to bulge into the spinal canal, putting pressure on the spinal cord. That pressure on the spinal cord was causing great pain and Francesca would fall over with spasms, which we thought were seizures. Dr. Joseph feels that Francesca can make a full recovery, if she remains confined in a crate for a total of thirty days.
Animal Specialty Center is an amazing place, built in 2007. It is a comprehensive, purpose-built, specialty veterinary center that provides clients, veterinarians, and specialists with the most innovative diagnostic tools and advanced treatments available. It is truly cutting edge!
1 We brought Francesca here to the Animal Specialty Center located in Yonkers, New York.
2 This is Dr. Richard Joseph, the medical director, staff neurologist, and veterinary acupuncturist at Animal Specialty Center. He took one look at Francesca and determined that she had a bulging neck disc.
3 Dr. Joseph has seen many cases like Francesca's. This is an MRI of a 10-year-old Rhodesian with a degenerative neck disc.
4 A cross section shows how the spine is being compressed.
5 On this picture of another dog, the arrow is pointing to a similar bulging disc, which is compressing the spinal cord, causing great pain.
6 Again, a cross section reveals just how much trauma there is.
7 Francesca's MRI slides are on the bottom of the screen. They appear very similar to the dog's above.
8 A bulging disc is a form of degenerative intervertebral disk disease. The bulging and related symptoms usually build up over time and eventually worsen because of the pressure on the spinal cord.
9 A closer look at Francesca's problem area. Dr. Joseph pointed out that there are other lesser bulges along Francesca's spine.
10 Those other areas may or may not develop into full-blown issues.
11 Dr. Joseph brought out the dog skeleton for a more tangible explanation.
12 He's pointing to C2, the second vertebra, which is where Francesca is bulging.
13 His treatment for this is anti-inflamatory medicine, pain pills, and rest, which is the most important practice.
14 He is a firm believer in first, doing no harm. He explores and tries a natural healing process before jumping into surgery.
15 Dr. Joseph has performed acupuncture for more 20 years, primarily on patients with epilepsy and pain-related disorders, such as arthritis and intervertebral disc disease. He sees great results with acupuncture.
16 Here he is showing an acupuncture needle and a transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation (TENS) unit, which sends soothing pulses through electrodes during the acupuncture process.
17 This state-of-the-art center is open for emergencies 24 hours and no appointment is needed.
18 This is one of three operating rooms in this busy facility.
19 They see and treat all sorts of trauma patients.
20 Pet owners are provided with comfortable waiting areas during times of crisis.
21 This is the recovery area where patients are closely monitored.
22 There is a rehabilitation room, where patients are exercised back to health. Linda McMahon is the Director of Rehabilitation. Many pets recovering from surgery, injury, or other trauma benefit significantly from a specialized rehabilitation program.
23 The rehab room is equipped with two underwater treadmills. Water provides resistance while its buoyancy reduces gravity and joint pain. Warm water assists in pain reduction and increases blood flow.
24 This is a Fluoroscope, a type of X-ray machine that combines an X-ray source and a fluorescent screen to enable direct observation of an organ while it is functioning.
25 The chemotherapy room
26 This is an Aquilion 16 CT Scanner. During a CT exam, a patient lies on the table and is slowly moved into the large donut-shaped opening of the scanner, where X-ray beams create hundreds of cross sectional pictures of the patient's body.
27 Dr. Joseph is extremely proud of having this cutting-edge piece of equipment, a CyberKnife® Radiosurgery System for pets with cancer.
28 This is one of the very few veterinary facilities in the world that utilizes the CyberKnife®. This system uses a high-tech, image-guided and computerized robotic control system to deliver radiation with unprecedented sub-millimeter accuracy with fewer treatments and side effects for your pet.
29 The Center offers ultrasound (sonogram) examinations as a non-invasive procedure to evaluate internal organs. Ultrasound can be used to examine the abdominal organs, reproductive organs, eyes and heart.
30 The Center uses a mobile MRI, which is entered from inside the building. If the MRI needs maintenance or replacement, it's a much easier fix than having a unit installed inside the facility.