Our not-so-fun road trip: Neurological Consult and Dog MRI at Ontario Vet College, Guelph, ON (Part One)


Natural light floods the waiting room at the Ontario Vet College, and I’m in good company: Casey the Airedale terrier is here with her by mom, a dog breeder; Clair the Great Dane is recovering from intestinal surgery; Lily the pug is getting tested for nasal issues. Most everyone is willing to talk about their pups, unless the prognosis is grim. We are here for a dog MRI.

Specifically, we are here to answer the question: does my dog have a brain tumor?

The expansive room’s atmosphere is an odd mix of trepidation and pride as most family members fuss over their fur (or feather) babies or huddle in corners away from human interaction. In carriers, cats and bunnies retreat, and three exotic birds come and go. Everyone is waiting for news about pets or appointments with vets.

Including me. About an hour ago, I passed my dog Victor into the arms of an empathetic technician for a neurological consultation. It sounds ominous and frankly, feels that way too.

Why are we here? Within the past month, my 15-year-old pup had two seizures, the first resulting in an emergency vet visit that landed him in doggie ICU for the day. Since, he’s been on anti-seizure meds which have quelled the symptoms. Determining the source, however, requires further investigation. And further investigation first requires a board-certified specialist consultation. To neurology we went.

Fortunately, we live within an hour’s drive to Canada’s best Veterinary School at the University of Guelph (my alma mater – different major).

The Ontario Veterinary College in Guelph, Ontario is arguable the best small animal facility in the country, and many specialist consults are referred here – it’s one of two places to get a canine MRI in the region – and a team of Veterinary professors, interns and observing students consult over your fur baby.

Today, Victor is here so the team can put him through a series of simple tests, access his reflexes and observe him pace in circles around the room – something he’s done all his life, though no one seems to believe me.

Then I got a coffee from the waiting room Keurig, planted myself in an upholstered waiting room chair, and watched the parade of pooches (mostly) come and go, most remarkably curious about where they’d been brought and many resembling those who brought them – people really do look like their dogs.

Then I saw him – my conversation with the Great Dane’s daddy is interrupted by the appearance of my pup. I almost didn’t recognize him swaddled in the technician’s arms. My dog Victor was done his neurological examination.

The results of today’s analysis? Something neurologically is off with Victor, either a brain tumor or brain swelling. The first is treatable only by radiation or surgery. The second, treatable with medication.

I’m clearly reluctant to allow brain surgery on a 15-year-old dog (though the doctor and neurological intern assigned to our case doesn’t rule it out). Treatment for brain swelling, however, is a different course of action.

But treatment requires answers. And answers require an MRI. An MRI requires lots of money and sedation. The last one has me most worried.

I book an MRI for the following week. I’ve got a few days to figure this out.

Check out the dog dementia test results here: The MRI results.

Writer bio: Sherri Telenko has been a professional writer for decades and a travel writer for the last two. She’s a member of TMAC (Travel Media Association of Canada) and Dog Writers Association of America and travels almost weekly with her canine companion, Victoria. All written content is original, written by a person, and based on experience and research.


  1. […] In December, I took my dog Victor to the Ontario Vet Clinic in Guelph, Ontario part of the Ontario Veterinary College. Check out our first consultation here. […]

  2. Sandy Weinstein · · Reply

    oh i am so very sorry, i know exactly how you feel, except mine was with a rare form of cancer. we went through all of this many times, waiting is the hardest. i know how expensive it can be. however, i could not deny trying to save my little gal’s life if even it was only for a few months. each week we went back to the cancer vet sometimes 2-3 times a week and my reg. vet for blood work. i survived off of cheap soup and did not buy anything for a very long time. the meds and supplements were so expensive. I wish you the best. they are our children. i had many friends ask me why i was spending so much money on a dog that was 15, almost 16 yrs old. i just ignored them. i replied, what if it was your child or parent. so please, do everything you can possible do for your baby. i hope whatever avenue you decide to take, it will be the right choice for you and the best for Victor. i will be praying for Victor and you. i think they feel how much we love them. my vet said Evie had so much love for me, that she just did not want to let go. she should have died within weeks but lived for another 10-11 months. she had a stroke in my arms while i was feeding her. i gave her cpr and rushed her to the er cancer vet, and waited all night. he came in in the am and said it was time, she was brain dead. i just held her for hours, cried, while she was still on oxygen. i held even after he gave her the shot, but she was already gone. not a day goes by without me thinking abt her, she still sits on my piano, i wake up to her picture on my mantel every am/pm. please keep us informed of Victor’s health and your well being as well. i know it will be a long hard road. i t hink it is harder on us, because we love them so much.

    1. Thank you for your words of support. It sounds like you did everything you could for your pup. She lucky to have you. I wish more were that well taken care of.

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