Diagnostic Imaging

Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI)

Magnetic Resonance Imaging, commonly known as MRI, is a diagnostic tool that senses water molecules oriented by a strong magnetic field to produce high quality images of tissue.

MRI is commonly used to image:

  • The nervous system (brain, spinal cord, peripheral nerves): For seizures, altered mentation, paresis/paralysis, pain, vestibular disease and other neurologic deficits.
  • The musculoskeletal system: For lameness, swelling, masses.
  • Masses or other soft tissues involving the head, neck, thorax and abdomen.

Movement during the scan must be minimized in order to get the best quality diagnostic images. Therefore, veterinary patients need to be anesthetized for the MRI examination. Every patient that presents for an MRI scan will receive a thorough physical exam, and will have a review of recent bloodwork and other testing done prior to anesthesia to ensure they are good candidates for anesthesia. Also, every patient anesthetized at VCA NWVS is closely monitored while under anesthesia by a veterinarian and a certified veterinary technician. VCA NWVS has a high field MRI magnet (1.5 tesla) on site, which is similar to the MRI equipment used in many human hospitals. Surgical suites and the ICU (with board certified surgeons, internal medicine specialists, neurologists, emergency and critical care, and other specialists) are close by.