In a first, gorilla goes under the scan

March 27th, 2009 - 4:45 pm ICT by IANS  

New York, March 27 (IANS) Fubo, a 42-year-old gorilla, one of two adult males at the Bronx Zoo here, became the first of his species to undergo an MRI scan, after suffering a seizure recently.
The on-site procedure, performed by dozens of wildlife vets, zookeepers and medical personnel with the help of the 48-foot mobile Bobby Murcer MRI Unit, made the comprehensive neurological scan on Fubo’s brain possible.

Fubo’s seizure prompted Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS) health and curatorial staff to seek out a neurological diagnosis. The Brain Tumour Foundation (BTF) responded to WCS’s request for assistance by sending its mobile MRI (magnetic resonance imaging) facility and staff to the Zoo, free of charge.

The gorilla was sedated for the two-hour procedure, placed into the MRI’s magnetic tube for the scans (a snug fit for a patient with gorilla-sized shoulders), and returned to the Congo Gorilla Forest at the Bronx Zoo as planned. Under strict protocol, the MRI Unit was cleaned and sanitised after the procedure.

The MRI images were interpreted by staff of the Albert Einstein College of Medicine and reviewed with WCS’s Global Health Program staff. The findings indicated that Fubo’s condition was caused by a lesion in the left temporal lobe of his brain.

Vets have concluded that Fubo’s condition is not treatable with surgery, so they will continue to treat the gorilla with medication in an effort to control his seizures and other clinical signs.

“Thanks to the generosity of the The Brain Tumour Foundation, we were able to perform an MRI of Fubo’s brain and this gave us insights into the possible cause of his illness right here at the Bronx Zoo,” said Paul P. Calle, director of WCS Zoological Health Program and a participant in the MRI procedure, according to a WCS release.

MRI is a frequently used technique for imaging structures within the human body. The method is more effective at imaging organs and soft tissue than the CT scan (computed tomography) and is often used in neurological scans.

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