As noted in a recent issue of Veterinary Radiology & Ultrasound (2011, Vol. 52, No. 1, Supp. 1), MRI is the preferred and best imaging procedure for the spinal cord and brain in the veterinary field. Because it allows better resolution of soft tissues, it is also extremely useful for diagnosing ligament and tendon injuries (just ask any Pro Football Team!). Your veterinarian will probably have recommended an MRI for conditions involving these parts of the body.
Just like many other diagnostic imaging procedures (e.g., myelogram, CT scan, endoscopy), your pet will need to be anesthetized in order for them to stay completely still (any small movements will blur the images). Therefore, before you arrive at our office, we will have discussed having a pre-anesthetic blood panel (CBC/chem.) done by your veterinarian, and fasting your pet on the morning of the scan.
When you arrive, we will discuss your pet’s recent history and answer any questions you may have. After we take your pet back to the scanning area, the veterinarian will perform a pre-anesthesia exam to make sure the heart and lungs sound healthy, and to check for any issues that might arise during the procedure.
If your veterinarian has not already done so, we will shave a small area on a leg and place an IV catheter to administer medications for anesthesia and fluids during the scan. Our veterinarian will initiate the anesthesia, after which we’ll move your pet into the scan room and connect our specialized ventilator and monitoring equipment. Once we’re satisfied everything is going well, the scan will begin, and we will contact the radiologist to make sure they receive everything they need for a diagnosis.
Most MRI scans take approximately 1-2 hours to complete, depending on how many areas we are scanning and how subtle the problem(s), often called lesions, are to identify.
Following the scan, your pet will be moved to a warm, comfortable recovery area (often someone’s lap, if your pet will fit). Once your pet has recovered from the anesthesia, they will be ready to go home although they may still appear slightly dizzy. A board certified veterinary radiologist will review the images and provide a written report, which will be sent to your veterinarian within 24-48 hours.
When your pet is discharged, one of the veterinary staff will discuss care at home following anesthesia in detail. Hospitalization is not typically necessary after an MRI scan unless surgery is expected. If hospitalization or transfer to a specialty service is recommended, that will be discussed with you and your veterinarian. In most cases your pet will go home soon after the scan has been performed and they have recovered from the anesthesia.
We do ask that fees are paid in full at the time of the MRI scan. We accept payment in the form of cash, personal check, major credit card or CareCredit.
As described on their website: CareCredit is a healthcare credit card with a credit line for treatments for your entire family, including your pets. It is a credit card designed for your health and beauty needs.
We also have brochures and information available at our office. The short application takes only a few minutes to complete and you will receive a quick decision. If you are interested in this option please visit CareCredit’s site.