(News-Press.com) - Bugatti, a Southwest Florida dog paralyzed from the neck down, is gaining mobility thanks to local board-certified veterinary neurologist Dr. Michelle Carnes and the C.A.R.N.E.S. (Companion Animal Relief for Neurological Veterinary Emergency Services) Fund.
After hearing Bugatti's story, Carnes, of the Animal Specialty Hospital of Florida in Naples, knew she wanted to help. As one of only 200 board-certified veterinary neurologists in the country, she had the expertise and type of equipment Bugatti needed, including a magnetic resonance imaging machine. In fact, ASH is the only hospital in Collier/Lee County to have MRI and CT availability 24 hours a day, seven days a week. The dog's owners, who say they believe a neighbor caused the injury by hitting Bugatti over the head with a heavy object, brought her to the animal hospital for an MRI and treatment.
The detailed form of advanced diagnostic imaging allows Carnes to see inside the canine, similar to an X-ray. However, the MRI images are far more detailed than those from an X-ray; the entire scan took 30 minutes and Bugatti was required to be under anesthesia for the procedure. The MRI permitted Carnes to visualize Bugatti's spinal cord, identify the problem and make a plan for recovery – one that won't involve surgery.
Bugatti has already begun physical rehabilitation, a combination of inpatient therapy and at home exercises six to eight times a day. Phase two of her therapy will utilize an underwater treadmill at the hospital, which will begin within the next two to three weeks; this exercise will teach Bugatti how to walk again. Carnes says the treatment may take weeks to months, but she is optimistic that Bugatti will be back to her old self.
"Upon her arrival, she could only move her head from a laying down position," noted Carnes. "After only two days of rehabilitation, she is making significant progress. It's an amazing testament to her will."
Thanks to the nonprofit C.A.R.N.E.S. Fund, Bugatti's owners are not being charged. "An MRI scan and anesthesia can cost between $1,800 and $2,000, but we are able to take care of all the charges."
The mission of the C.A.R.N.E.S. Fund is to provide medical assistance to pet owners with a significant financial hardship in need of neurological veterinary care for their companion animal. The fund is a subsidiary of the Veterinary Care Foundation, a 501(c)(3) charitable foundation. One hundred percent of all donations are used for patient care and are tax deductible. The diagnostics and treatments are performed by Carnes at Animal Specialty Hospital of Florida.
"Through the C.A.R.N.E.S. Fund, we are thrilled to be able to help Bugatti on her road to recovery and alleviate some of the financial hardship from her owners," said Carnes. "We are extremely grateful to those generous donors who support this organization and thereby support the care of pets with neurological disease."
Those interested in donating to the C.A.R.N.E.S. Fund may do so through a secure online process at ashfl.com. For more information or questions, call 239-263-0480 to speak with a neurology/neurosurgery team member or emailCARNESFund@ashfl.com. Animal Specialty Hospital of Florida is open 24 hours a day, seven days a week, 365 days a year, at 10130 Market Street, Suite I (I-75 at Collier Boulevard, off Davis Boulevard) in Naples.