Interventional Radiology Provides Good Quality of Life for Dog

Hi Everyone!  Interventional Radiology is no longer just for humans, we are bringing it to veterinary medicine! It is with great enthusiasm I am pleased to introduce one of our two newest stars (stay tuned to learn about the 2nd):

Interventional Radiology.

Interventional Radiology (IR) refers to a subspecialty of radiology in which advanced imaging techniques are utilized to guide the delivery of materials for diagnostic and therapeutic purposes.  Veterinary IR procedures and case management are typically team efforts and are part of an initiative at NorthStar VETS directed toward providing advanced therapies for companion animals in a minimally invasive fashion. This approach to treatment facilitates shorter hospital stays, decreased pain, and a more rapid return to function. This new service will be helpful in providing patients with more options and is currently only available at our hospital.

On November 8, 2011 we performed our very first Interventional Radiology Case:

Meet Jake!

Jake is a 12-year old MC Australian Shepherd who presented to the internal medicine service with a history of straining to urinate and bloody urine.  His signs were progressive to the point where he was only dribbling urine and his bladder was very large and uncomfortable.

On ultrasound his prostate was found to be asymmetrically enlarged and mineralized (often a sign of neoplasia).  It was suspected that Jake had a urethral obstruction secondary to prostatic neoplasia.

Ultimately, prostatic cancer is fatal but many dogs can enjoy a good quality of life for 6-12 months.  Jake’s inability to urinate made his condition immediately life threatening.  In order for Jake to live, he needed a way to have his urethra opened to allow him to urinate normally.  More traditional methods might have included surgery to make an opening from his bladder through to his side.  However, this procedure requires surgery and has the potential for many complications.

The interventional radiology team comprised of two surgeons, Drs. Levin and Staiger, and an internal medicine specialist, Dr. Hammer, placed a stent in Jake’s urethra that opened up his urethra and allowed him to urinate normally.  The procedure was done non-invasively (no surgical incisions) and Jake went home the next day urinating with a normal stream.

Below is a radiograph of Jake’s abdomen after the procedure.  The stent can be seen in the back of his abdomen behind his bladder.

After speaking with Jake’s mom today, we were excited to hear how well he is doing and how his quality of life has dramatically improved.

The interventional radiology and endoscopy team is now able to provide many procedures including urethral stenting, ureteral stenting, tracheal stenting, and anything else you can think of.

NorthStar VETS is very excited to be the 1st referral and specialty hospital to offer this service. Learn more here:

Please contact NorthStar VETS at 609.259.8300 if you have a patient  that you think you would benefit from our new cutting edge service!

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