Medical Neurology

  • Advanced care for epilepsy and seizure disorders
  • Diagnostic evaluation, drug monitoring and in-depth discussion on treatment adjustment
  • Diagnostic testing and treatment of diseases affecting muscles and nerves (neuromuscular diseases), such as myasthenia gravis, myositis, and neuropathy
  • Electromyography and nerve conduction testing:  This procedure is useful to evaluate a patient with neuromuscular disease. Specific information can be obtained to determine if a primary muscle (myopathy), nerve (neuropathy or neuromuscular junction is present.  Additional information can be obtained to evaluate for a focal or multifocal disease process to guide further diagnostic testing, including muscle and/or nerve biopsy.

Left: EMG Example of Denervation. Right: Motor Nerve Conduction in a Dog

  • Evaluation and treatment of diseases causing weakness, imbalance and abnormal movement, and behavior changes:
    • Vestibular disease
    • Encephalitis
    • Optic neuritis
    • Collection of spinal fluid for analysis
    • Advanced diagnostic testing for infectious diseases
  • Hearing testing
    • Brainstem auditory evoked potential recordings:  This procedure is used to determine if causes of hearing loss are due to conduction loss (failure of sound waves to stimulate the auditory nerve) or sensorineural loss (failure of cochlear receptors to transmit signals through the auditory nerve. Screening for congenital deafness is
      recommended for many breeds prior to breeding.


Surgical Neurology

Drs. Podell and Niman have over 25 years of dedicated neurosurgery experience for a wide variety of neurosurgical procedures.  The neurosurgery suite is equipped with state-of the art equipment for all neurosurgery procedures, similar to that found in a human neurosurgery suite.   A Zeiss neurosurgery operating microscope with video monitor display and image
capture provides high quality visualization for delicate neurosurgical procedures when meticulous manipulation in the brain and spinal cord is critical.  A cavitron ultrasonic aspirator (CUSA) is available for removable of the most brain and spinal cord tumors with maximal precision to preserve surrounding normal tissue and blood vessels.  Advanced patient monitoring and ventilator support is used for all surgical procedures to provide the most comprehensive care for our patients.

Spinal surgery

  • Intervertebral disk disease surgery
    • Thoracolumbar dorsal and hemilaminectomy
    • Cervical ventral slot, dorsal and hemilaminectomy
    • Lumbosacral dorsal laminectomy
  • Cervical vertebral distraction-fusion surgery with implant placement for Wobbler’s disease
  • Cervical spinal decompression for stenosis in Giant breeds
  • Spinal stabilization surgery
    • Atlanto-axial subluxation
    • Thoracolumbar vertebral malformation and instability in brachycephalic dogs
    • Lumbosacral disk disease and instability surgery
  • Spinal fracture repair and stabilization


Intracranial surgery 

  • Brain tumor resection
    • Rostro-lateral craniotomy and craniectomy
    • Sub-occipital craniectomy
    • Transfrontal craniotomy
    • Transverse sinus occlusion and craniectomy for brainstem tumors
    • Syringomyelia
      • Foramen magnum decompression and titanium implant placement
    • Head trauma and skull fractures
      • Cerebral decompression and hematoma resection
      • Fracture repair
      • Cranioplasty with titanium implant placement
    • Hydrocephalus
      • Ventriculoperitoneal shunt placement

Other surgical procedures

  • Muscle and nerve biopsy
  • Ventral bullae osteotomy
  • Peripheral nerve trauma


MRI Scanning: 1.5 Tesla superconductive Philips scanner  

An in-house Philips 1.5 tesla superconductive high field MRI scanner is available for our patients.  This MRI scanner is similar to those used in the majority of hospitals for people and is the strongest magnet available to veterinary patients in the Chicagoland area.

The steps of obtaining a MRI scan for your pet:

1.   A consultation with the Neurology department is scheduled by appointment or as an emergency if needed.

  • During this consultation, a complete neurologic examination is performed and the need for MRI scanning is determined as well as the specific area of the body to be scanned.  Owners are then informed of the process.  
  • Most scans are done the same day of the appointment.

2.   Patient Care and Monitoring

  • A dedicated veterinary technician monitors the patient’s vital signs along with using a video monitor during each scan to monitor for any patient movement.  Early detection of any movement allows for a rapid adjustment of the anesthesia to avoid prolongation of scan time by removing the necessity for repeat scans.
  • All scans are performed with the patients under the safest form of anesthesia.
  • A specialized MRI safe ventilator is used to insure proper patient ventilation during the procedure.
  • Wireless, digital monitoring of heart rate, blood pressure, end tidal CO2 and ECG are used to carefully monitor the patient status during this procedure.

3.   Scanning

  • A dedicated MRI trained technician is present during the procedure to optimize scan acquisition and quality.
  • Images are obtained and sent to a PACS system for interpretation.
  • Intravenous contrast is used when needed to outline more specific lesions.
  • The average time for obtaining a scan is:
    • Brain: 30  to 45 minutes (depending on use of IV contrast)
    • Spine:  small dog: 30 minutes
    • Spine large dog:  45 -60 minutes

4.   Patient recovery, owner and referral communication

  • Patients are recovered in the ICU and monitor closely by the ICU staff
  • Owners are informed of the results and recommendations that day
  • Referral reports are generated the same day and can be emailed along with select images
  • A complete CD copy of the scan is available at no charge to the owner and/or veterinarian.