Health First’s Furriest Patient ‘Brody’ on the Road to Recovery After Historic MRI Scan

MRI scanners produce detailed, three-dimensional images that provide the best possible view of soft tissue

CLOCK:Health First’s furryest patient, “Brody” the Bear, is on the way to recovery after checking in for an MRI scan last spring.

BREVARD COUNTY, FLORIDA – Health First’s furryest patient, “Brody,” the bear, is on his way to recovery Check in for an MRI scan last spring past.

Numerous tests failed to discover a weakness in the young bear’s hind legs. So zoo officials turned to Viera Hospital for help, and of course they helped.

Brody was transported to Viera Hospital, 3 minutes away, to allow technicians to perform the procedure quickly and safely, minimizing travel stress and sedation time.

He has been a popular resident of Brevard Zoo since he was rescued as a young cub in the Ocala National Forest, where the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission deemed him “unapproachable” in March 2020.

Brody began struggling with mobility issues last summer, and while treatments like hip surgeries and stem cell therapy initially showed promise, zoo veterinarians began to suggest that at least some of his ailments were neurological in nature.

Brody began struggling with mobility issues last summer, and while treatments like hip surgeries and stem cell therapy initially showed promise, zoo veterinarians began to suggest that at least some of his ailments were neurological in nature. (Image from Brevard Zoo)

“Our colleagues at Brevard Zoo came up to us and explained Brody’s situation and we knew we couldn’t miss the opportunity to help,” said Dianna Green, Health First Director of Clinical Operations / Radiology.

“It took about two weeks of preparation between our staff and the vets at Brevard Zoo before we could assess Brody’s health needs. We had to find out how much it weighed, whether it would fit in the scanner and what exactly we would be looking for – because we’ve never scanned a bear and its anatomy is different from what we’re used to.

“MRI can help identify things that conventional CT cannot see – especially in soft tissue such as muscle and intervertebral discs. Brody obviously needed sedation for this type of exam, and certainly the shortest amount of time is better and more comfortable for him. Being Brody’s neighbor certainly has its advantages – he was in and out in about 45 minutes, ”Green continued.

Brody is back at the zoo now. While the MRI couldn’t detect any specific symptoms, based on his behavior, doctors determined that his spinal cord was crushed and an injury was made worse before it healed completely. (Image from Brevard Zoo)

Brody is back at the zoo now. While the MRI couldn’t detect any specific symptoms, based on his behavior, doctors determined that his spinal cord was crushed and an injury was made worse before it healed completely.

Brody oversaw visits with the other bears at the zoo to get exercise and play time.

Visits are monitored to make sure Brody and the other bears aren’t getting too noisy, potentially causing more injury and slowing the healing process. Doctors believe Brody is on the way to a full recovery.

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