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Cerebrospinal Fluid (CSF) Analysis for Pets in South Florida

Ill german shephers lying on medical table while vet commenting its x-ray image to owner

A spinal tap is one more test that our neurologists use to help with diagnosing various neurological conditions. CSF analysis is most often used in combination with MRI, as the information it offers on its own is limited.

What is CSF?

Cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) is the fluid that surrounds and fills the brain and spinal cord, providing essential nourishment to these organs.

How is the Analysis Done?

At Southeast Veterinary Neurology, a CSF analysis is typically performed immediately after an MRI, while your pet is still under anesthesia. An MRI is almost always performed first, as it will help determine whether a CSF analysis is necessary. While your pet is still under anesthesia from the MRI, he or she is positioned and the hair over the area where the CSF tap will be performed is clipped and the skin is aseptically prepared. Our skilled, experienced neurologists collect CSF by inserting a needle into the subarachnoid space and allowing the fluid to drip into a sterile collection container. Your pet's condition is monitored closely before, during, and after the procedure.

There are two types of spinal tap. One, known as 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. The second type of spinal tap, known as 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. We analyze your pet's CSF by looking at the number of nucleated cells, the type and appearance of the cells, and the protein level.

Hand wearing gloves holding a sample .
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Why Does My Pet Need a CSF Analysis?

CSF analysis is useful for evaluating the general health of your pet's nervous system. It is used along with MRI to diagnose many conditions including tumors, inflammation, infection, and others. These conditions may cause symptoms such as:

  • Neck or back pain
  • Seizures
  • Walking in circles
  • Incoordination
  • Balance problems
  • Paralysis

CSF analysis is often used to narrow down the list of possible causes. Rest assured, the neurologists at Southeast Veterinary Neurology will only recommend a CSF analysis if it's in your pet's best interest; we do not perform it if it's deemed unnecessary or is too risky for their particular condition.

Why Choose Us?

We have the most experienced, expertly-trained staff in all of South Florida when it comes to understanding and improving your pet's neurological health. Our sole goal is to make your best friend healthy again. We have two locations in South Florida and have been helping pets like yours since our founding in 2010. If your pet is walking in circles or shows signs of neck pain, don’t let them suffer. Contact one of our two locations today, so we can help get your four-legged family member back on the road to good health.

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