years ago this April, Jill Robinson first walked onto a bear bile farm. On that day in April 1993, Jill could have walked away, but she chose to act and do what she could. Today, you also have a choice. If everyone reading this donated just US$20, it would pay for the care of over 150 bears at our China sanctuary for a full year. Please help us celebrate 20 years of progress. Donate US$20 today (or whatever you can afford).
Problems diagnosed speedily with the help of MRI scan
Bella arrived at the rescue centre in 2005 after an incredibly long and stressful journey from Liaoning Province in Northeast China. She had been confiscated from an illegal bear farm where she had been kept in a small cage, wearing a heavy, full-metal jacket for at least eight years.
After life-saving surgery that required cutting through bone to remove a latex catheter that had been anchored with wire loops inside her abdomen, Bella started on the road to recovery and has thrived over the past four years.
Recently however, our vet team noted that she had developed problems with her hind legs, resulting in uncontrollable spasms. All sorts of scenarios presented themselves, especially given her history of bearing the weight and discomfort of the brutal metal jacket, and the vet team deemed an MRI necessary for diagnosis.
The next step was to contact our friends at Alltech Medical – an independent MRI machine manufacturing facility in Chengdu. They have been extremely kind in offering us their MRI facilities. So, on the big day, we readied Bella and took her to town for her MRI.
Hayley, Hans from Alltech Medical and Heather view the scan on screen.
The scan ruled out liver, spinal or brain problems and indicated that muscle inflammation was the likely cause. As the spasms usually occurred at the end of a long day’s play with Emma, they are probably due to muscular exhaustion exacerbating an underlying weakness caused by poor nutrition on the farm. Vitamin E supplements and anti-inflammatories have worked a treat and Bella is now back to normal, at home with her friends and pottering happily about in her enclosure.
Thanks to Ken, Hans and Mike who are the engineering experts behind Alltech Medical. They give us their time and expertise, and have even modified the scan settings to make them more appropriate for bears (who tend to be a little bigger and heftier than most people). They offer us these invaluable MRI scans free of charge and we cannot thank them enough for helping to spare the bears from prolonged discomfort.
Early diagnosis and treatment have given Bella a new lease on life.
No longer plagued by spasms, Bella once again rules her world.
Bella is positioned carefully on the table, guided by Ken (right) from Alltech Medical.
The vet team do a final check of Bella's vitals before the scan begins.
Oblivious to her surroundings, Bella undergoes her MRI scan.