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Western New York needs an animal MRI machine

I love animals, but I didn’t consider myself an “animal person.” That was until my 8-year-old granddaughter and her mom saved two cats by adopting them from the SPCA. It was love at first sight. One cat, a pure white, was naturally named Snowball. He is also “Mr. Personality” and has never met a person he didn’t like.

Snowball is about 10 months old, very well taken care of and has received all of his shots and checkups. So when he had a seizure, we were all surprised. A visit to an emergency veterinarian’s office revealed the possible serious nature of his illness. A follow-up with his regular vet confirmed that we had a very sick kitten on our hands. Possible diagnoses included Toxoplasmosis, congenital hydroencephalitis, toxin exposure, epilepsy, cardiac problems and meningitis.

While an array of tests are being performed in Western New York, I was surprised to learn that there is no animal MRI machine in our area. We were told of one in Rochester. However, before the end of our visit we learned that the radiologist who can read the images is only in Rochester twice a month, and that the appointments for the MRI were already booked. Our only other option was Cornell University in Ithaca.

Buffalo is the second-largest city in the great state of New York. And Buffalo is filled with animal lovers. I am not in a financial position to donate an animal MRI machine, but if I was, I would. I wondered if an appeal to the public might raise awareness and perhaps bring much-needed medical equipment and personnel to our wonderful city. It may not be in time for Snowball, but it might help save other pets.

Geri Lyon

Buffalo