MRI (Magnetic Resonance Imaging) for primates at WFFT
As in human medicine, advanced imaging techniques like MRI scans are required to diagnose disorders of the brain and nervous system in animals. So, when the medical team at the WFFT wildlife hospital encountered 2 new primate rescues with brain and spinal cord injuries, an appointment was made at Chulalongkorn University Veterinary hospital in Bangkok for MRI scans to investigate.
‘Jacky’ a white cheeked gibbon with chronic brain damage and ‘Pixie’ a baby long tailed macaque with a spinal injury underwent brief general anaesthesia for the scans which revealed promising treatment options for both. After years of daily, debilitating seizures ‘Jacky’ has been diagnosed with hydrocephalus (water on the brain) and ‘Pixie’ who was paralysed from the waist down has a spinal fracture but will walk and climb again with the right care. WFFT vets are working alongside specialist neurologists to devise the treatment plans and both are already responding.
More on Jacky
Closure of the outdated and cramped Thonburi snake farm and zoo last month was an animal welfare victory for WFFT. The first arrival was a very special, male white cheeked gibbon called ‘Jacky’. Jacky’s rescue was fast-tracked ahead of schedule so WFFT could start urgent treatment for his chronic brain disorder.
Jacky has suffered brain damage and daily violent seizures since sustaining a head injury as a baby and has been in solitary confinement at the zoo in a small, barren display cage for ?years. Previous treatment attempts have failed to control his debilitating seizures.
Jacky’s brain damage makes him a uniquely gentle gibbon. He lacks the usual strength, agility and aggression of his species and can be handled closely by his vet and carers since they have gained his trust. MRI brain scans at Kasetsart Veterinary University hospital diagnosed hydrocephalus (water on the brain) which means the condition may be treatable. Trials of human anti-epileptic drugs have given promising results in stabalising jacky’s seizures and we are working closely with specialist neurologists to give Jacky a more normal life