Overview

What is an MRI?

Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) is a safe, non-invasive, advanced diagnostic test used to produce high quality images of an animal's internal organ. Images are computer generated, produced by recording the signal emitted from the organ following a radio wave stimulus while the animal lies safely in a high-powered magnet. The interpretation of the MRI images by the veterinary specialist helps diagnosis, treatment, and prognosis of your animal's problem.

When to Consider an MRI?

  • Neurology - behavior or personality changes, seizure, inability to blink or other asymmetries of head conformation, imbalance, incoordination, weakness or pain
  • Orthopedic - lameness, mass or swelling, cruciate ligament (ACL) tear
  • Oncology - growths, surgical planning, follow-up response
  • Ophthalmology - blindness, pupil size changes, bulging eye
  • Internal Medicine - liver, kidney, spleen, adrenal problems
  • Other - sneezing, gagging, head shaking or flinching, or based on your primary care veterinarian recommendations

Are MRIs safe?

Yes. The general anesthesia that accompanies MRIs carries limited risks, which are minimized by pre-anesthetic tests and patient monitoring.

Are there any contraindications?

Pacemakers and pregnancy. Metallic implants adjacent to the anatomic region imaged may obscure image quality.

How long is the MRI scan?

The average scan takes one hour. The duration may be longer or shorter depending on the region(s) of the pet that are imaged and the associated findings.



Sequence of axial MRI images in a dog's brain. Click image to view full sequence animation. (245k - high bandwidth recommended)


Sequence of sagittal MRI images in a dog's brain. Click image to view full sequence animation. (121k - high bandwidth recommended)