There are always a lot of questions about MRI vs. CT. These two imaging modalities are very different. CT is a better modality for bone and lungs. CT is great for finding small fractures and identifying pulmonary disease. CT uses x-rays to obtain images. MRI is the gold standard for imaging soft tissues, and therefore, for examining the brain and the spinal cord. Common diseases we can diagnose with MRI include disk herniations, tumors, trauma of the brain and spinal cord, strokes, malformations. MRI is also helpful in examining the skeleton, including bone, tendons, ligaments, and joints. Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI or MR) is the most advanced diagnostic imaging tool we have available to look “inside” our pets!
This safe, non-invasive procedure allows more complete viewing of the body than any other modality (x-ray, ultrasound and CT scan). This technology uses no ionizing radiation, such as x-rays. The patient is placed onto a table surrounded by a powerful magnet. Typically the magnets in veterinary medicine range from 0.2T to 1.5T. The tissues in the body respond to the magnetic field. These signals are converted to a cross-sectional image that allows us to look deep into the body for injury or disease.
We are lucky to have MRI available! It has lead to earlier and more accurate diagnoses. Important advances in the knowledge of spinal cord and brain injury allows for more informed decisions for your pets and your families.
Pets need to be placed under anesthesia for the MRI because they need to be very still while the images are acquired (typically for about 45 minutes). Because they are under anesthesia, it is important to make sure that there are no other abnormalities that could cause problems. We always recommend blood work to evaluate their organs and x-rays to look at their heart and lungs. These tests can be done at your regular veterinarian prior to coming for the MRI. It is also important that they do not eat prior to anesthesia; we ask that you not feed them the morning of the procedure.