Fluffy was having trouble balancing, standing and waddling around when he arrived to the University of Minnesota Veterinary Medical Center in late July.
The male penguin’s radiograph and blood work from his visit to The Raptor Center at the University of Minnesota hadn’t turned up the cause for his illness, so his U of M veterinarian Micky Trent, D.V.M., M.V.S.c., Diplomate A.C.V.S., C.V.S.M.T., was ordering the next step in diagnostic testing:
Fluffy the penguin was about to receive a magnetic resonance imaging scan (MRI).
The middle-aged-penguin was soothed, anesthetized to help him hold still during the scan, and then wheeled across the hall in a hospital bed to where the MRI machine awaited.
A red inflatable pillow helped hold the small penguin in place and a conveyor belt pulled him into the machine where high-power magnets could help veterinarians look inside to find the problem.
The MRI helped Trent discover the source of Fluffy’s ails – an inflammation of the brain, or encephalitis, caused by an infection.
Trent prescribed antibiotics to help fight the infection, and within a few days Fluffy was looking better. By late September, he was back to swimming around rocks and contentedly swallowing fish with his penguin friend BJ.
How’s that for the first known penguin MRI?