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.
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
Yes. The general anesthesia that accompanies MRIs carries limited risks, which are minimized by pre-anesthetic tests and patient monitoring.
Pacemakers and pregnancy. Metallic implants adjacent to the anatomic region imaged may obscure image quality.
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.
In order to obtain a high-quality MRI image, your pet must be completely still for approximately one hour. This would be impossible without general anesthesia and therefore, your pet must not eat the morning of the MRI and you must be prepared to leave the animal in the hospital for most of the day.
The specialist evaluating your dog or cat will make certain that your pet is a candidate for anesthesia by performing a physical exam and will subsequently recommend the appropriate pre-anesthetic blood tests and radiographs. Your pet will be anesthetized using safe, short-acting injectable medications (e.g., Propofol, Valium) administered through an intravenous catheter. General anesthesia is maintained by administering gas (e.g, Isoflorane) and oxygen through an endotracheal tube. While the MRI scan is being performed your pet will receive intravenous fluids. A specially trained veterinary technician monitors heart and respiratory rate, blood oxygen concentration, and vital signs closely throughout the procedure.
Once the procedure is completed your pet may be scheduled for additional tests or he/she will wake-up from anesthesia in the recovery area of the veterinary specialty center. Follow-up recommendations are specific to each patient but once the animal has recovered sufficiently from anesthesia he/she can be discharged from the specialty center. The MRI procedure is safe, painless and offers invaluable diagnostic information about your pet's illness.
The cost of a complete MRI study normally ranges from $2000-2500, depending on the facility. This cost includes:
Specialist office consultation, lab tests, radiographs, other recommended ancillary tests and multiple site MRIs are subject to additional fees.
To learn more about MRIs and their role in diagnosing pet ailments, visit these sites: