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Cerebrospinal Fluid (CSF) Analysis for Pets

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Why does my pet need a CSF analysis?


CSF analysis is another test that pet neurologists use in combination with MRI to help diagnose neurological symptoms such as neck or back pain, seizures, walking in circles, incoordination, balance problems, and paralysis.

Cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) is the fluid that surrounds and fills the brain and spinal cord, providing essential nourishment to these organs. Analysis of CSF is useful for evaluating the general health of a patient's nervous system. It is most often used along with MRI to help diagnose conditions such as tumors, inflammation, and infection.

Rest assured, the pet neurologists at Southeast Veterinary Neurology (SEVN) will only recommend a CSF analysis if it's in a patient’s best interest. We will not perform it if it's deemed unnecessary or too risky for their particular condition.


How is a CSF analysis done?


At SEVN, a CSF analysis is typically performed immediately after an MRI. An MRI helps determine whether a CSF analysis is necessary. If so, while the patient is still under anesthesia from the MRI, the fur over the area where the spinal tap will be performed is clipped, and the skin is aseptically prepared. Our skilled, experienced pet neurologists collect CSF by inserting a needle into the subarachnoid space and allowing the fluid to drip into a sterile collection container. The patient’s condition is monitored closely before, during, and after the procedure.

There are two types of spinal tap. A cisternal tap is where the needle is inserted at the base of the head on the back of the neck. This is typically performed when the neurological problem is coming from the brain or neck. A lumbar tap is performed by inserting the needle in the lower back. This is typically performed when the neurological problem is affecting the middle or lower back.

Pet neurologists analyze CSF by looking at the number of nucleated cells, the type and appearance of the cells, and the protein level.


Why choose Southeast Veterinary Neurology for pet CSF analysis?


We have the most experienced, expertly trained pet neurologists and staff when it comes to understanding and improving your pet’s neurological health. If your pet is walking in circles or showing signs of back pain, don’t let them suffer. Our sole goal is to make your best friend healthy again.

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