Bangkok hospital runs tiger MRI scan

9 Jan 2012

An unnamed Bangkok hospital ran a magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scan on an adult tiger last Wednesday. The scan was performed on 12-year-old male Meow to ascertain the exact cause of a long-term limp and its current general lethargy.

The Wildlife Friends Foundation of Thailand has taken care of the large feline at Wat Khao Luk Chang wildlife preservation centre in Phetchaburi since 2001. The animal was rescued from a life of degradation on a garage forecourt in nearby Cha-am where it was kept on a heavy chain and provided a source of amusement for customers.  

Meow became an inmate at the wildlife centre after somehow sustaining a life threatening injury. The animal recovered and prospered at the centre where director Edwin Wiek and keeper Nom provided him with care and attention. 

Despite his off-balance way of walking, all was well until Meow became sick again a few months ago. Meow again responded to treatment, but director Wiek decided that it might be a good idea to find out the extent of his afflictions. Previous x-rays had indicated Meow had a spinal problem, so it was decided to see whether he could have an MRI.

The Bangkok hospital which agreed to do the scan said it would only do it at night and wished to remain anonymous. Accordingly Meow was heavily sedated and wheeled in at night. Five vets and nursing staff conducted the scan which established that Meow has a neck fracture.

The cost of Meow’s MRI was 25,000 Baht. The cost of corrective surgery for the fracture will be considerably more, but could give the big cat an extra 10 years of quality life.  

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