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Vet Gazette

Oregon State University College of Veterinary Medicine eNewsletter

MRI donated to the College proves to be invaluable

December 13th, 2010

Rocco, the first College MRI patient.

“A handsome black and tan bloodhound” is how Dr. Shay Bracha described Rocco, his 10-year-old dog. Rocco was the first patient to benefit from the College’s new magnetic resonance machine (MRI) in November.

Rocco had already undergone several invasive procedures beginning two years ago, and Dr. Bracha was very interested in non-invasive diagnostic evaluation before a decision for further treatment was made. Luckily, the hospital had just received an MRI scanner as a very generous gift so the exam could be performed on-site.

The donors, Stan and Judy Stearns of Gig Harbor, Washington were thrilled to make the gift and have first-hand experience as to how valuable an on-site MRI can be. Stan is the founder and president of Valco Instruments Co. Inc., a leading designer and manufacturer of valves and fittings for precision analytical, biomedical and bio-compatible instrumentation. Stan and Judy also created the Gabriel Institute, a non-profit organization in honor of their beloved Saint Bernard, who lost his battle with osteosarcoma (cancer of the bone) two years ago. The purpose of the institute is to initiate and support research in the hope of finding a cure for bone cancer.

The donated machine is a mobile unit, housed in a trailer that will soon be repainted with the OSU logo and placed, semi-permanently, just outside the college’s diagnostic imaging wing. Patients undergoing an MRI exam are fully anesthetized for about 30-40 minutes while the MRI exam is performed.  Faculty clinicians are able to evaluate images of internal organs and tissues while the animal is still in the scanner, thus allowing immediate decisions concerning any additional examinations that may be necessary to confirm a diagnosis.

The MRI scan of Rocco resulted in good news for Dr. Bracha – Rocco was diagnosed with a hematoma (localized collection of blood), which was expected to resolve with time and appropriate treatment.  Rocco was the first of a series of patients that have since had MRI scans.  The availability of this technology greatly enhances the ability of the College to provide top-notch clinical care to animal patients, facilitates biomedical research and gives veterinary students an opportunity to learn about advanced diagnostic imaging modalities.

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