Health First’s furriest patient, “Brody” the Bear, is on the road to recovery after checking in for an MRI scan this past spring. Numerous tests failed to discover a weakness in the young bear’s hind legs. So, zoo officials approached Viera Hospital about helping, and, of course, they lent a hand.
Brody was transported to Viera Hospital, three minutes, away so technicians could perform the procedure quickly and safely, minimizing the stress of travel and sedation time.
[Brody s the one on the right playing with his pal. ]
He has been a beloved Brevard Zoo resident since his rescue as a small cub in Ocala’s National Forest, where Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission deemed him “un-releasable” in March 2020.
Brody began struggling with mobility issues last summer, and although treatments such as hip surgery and stem-cell therapy initially showed promise, zoo veterinarians began to suspect that at least some of his ailments were neurological in nature.
“Our counterparts at the Brevard Zoo approached us and explained Brody’s situation and we knew we couldn’t pass up the opportunity to help. It took about two weeks of preparation between our staff and Brevard Zoo veterinarians before we could assess Brody’s health needs. We had to find out how much he weighed, was he going to fit into the scanner and what exactly we would be looking for – because we’ve never scanned a bear before, and their anatomy is different than what we’re used to seeing,” said Dianna Green, Health First Director of Clinical Operations/Radiology.
“The MRI may help to identify things a traditional CT can’t see – especially in soft tissue like muscle and vertebral disks. Brody obviously needed to be sedated for this sort of examination, and certainly, the shortest time possible is better and more comfortable for him. Being Brody’s neighbor certainly has its perks – he was in and out in approximately 45 minutes,” Green continued.
Brody is now back at the zoo. While the MRI was unable to detect any specific ailments, doctors determined based on his behavior, that Brody bruised his spinal cord and aggravated an injury before it fully healed. Brody has supervised visits with the other bears at the zoo to get exercise and playtime. The visits are supervised to ensure Brody and the other bears do not get too rowdy, possibly causing more injury and slowing down the healing process. Doctors believe Brody is on the road to a full recovery.
About Health First
Founded in 1995, Health First is Brevard County’s not-for-profit, community healthcare system. The fully integrated delivery network (IDN) includes health insurance plans, hospitals, a multi-specialty medical group, and outpatient and wellness services. As a locally owned, not-for-profit organization, Health First is committed to investing in our community. Since 2012, Health First provided more than $1 billion in community support. To learn more about Health First and how we’re giving back to our community, please visit HFgivesback.org.
Source: Health First