To properly diagnose your pet, we must do proper imaging. Sometimes, a plain radiograph is not enough when it comes to finding out exactly what is wrong. Instead, here at West Marin Pet Hospital, we are proud to offer a range of imaging services to diagnose your pet appropriately.
A myelogram study is done using a special radiopaque dye. The dye is injected through a spinal tap. Radiographs are taken as the dye travels through the spinal canal. Though this is not as specific as some of our other tests, we can see an indentation where a herniated or bulging disk is impinging on the spinal cord. We are not able to differentiate between discs, lesions, tumors, or injury when performing a myelogram alone.
Since the patient needs to have a spinal tap during this procedure, myelograms need to be performed under general anesthesia. Though they are not perfect, they work well at pointing out the problem area in certain cases, especially emergencies when other forms of imaging are not available.
The gold standard for veterinary neurology is an MRI, which stands for Magnetic Resonance Imaging. This is a safe, non-invasive procedure and is performed under anesthesia to ensure the highest quality images.
MRIs do not use ionizing radiation which can be harmful; instead, it uses magnetic fields to give a very good image of our patients.
An MRI will show the soft tissue, allowing us to view the brain and the spinal cord carefully. We can diagnose herniated disks, trauma, strokes, and malformations, among other things. If we are concerned about a tumor, we will inject a dye which will let us know whether or not we are looking at a tumor.
To help your pet, we first need to diagnose the problem. This can easily be done using a myelogram or an MRI. Once complete, we will be able to discuss your options.