At Veterinary Medical and Surgical Group (VMSG) in Ventura, our board-certified veterinary neurologists use our in-house MRI to help diagnose a range of health issues in dogs from a ruptured cranial cruciate ligament to brain tumors. Today our vets explain why MRI scans for dogs can be helpful, and the conditions this technology can help diagnose.
Veterinary Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI)
MRIs have been readily available to help diagnose human health conditions since the early 1980s, but it wasn't until recently that veterinary MRIs became more widely used.
Why Veterinary MRIs Are Helpful
While it is often obvious that a pet is in pain or discomfort, because our dogs cannot express how they feel, we must rely on diagnostic examinations and testing to determine the source of the problem. We can evaluate the inside of your dog's body using veterinary MRI scans in a non-invasive manner.
High-resolution, detailed images of your pet's soft tissues, such as the brain, spinal cord, ligaments, tendons, and abdominal organs, can be obtained using an MRI scan. Veterinary MRI often provides a more detailed picture of your dog's body than other diagnostic imaging tools such as x-rays or CT Scans for many soft tissue injuries or diseases.
Conditions That MRIs Can Help to Diagnose
If your dog is limping, lame, having seizures, has joint pain, neck pain, back pain, or is paralyzed, your vet may recommend an MRI to help diagnose the cause of your dog's symptoms. MRI scans in dogs can be used to help diagnose a variety of conditions, including:
- Spinal disc tumor, herniated discs, or stenosis
- Brain tumor, inflammation, or abscess
- Musculoskeletal diseases and injuries such as ruptured cranial cruciate ligament or shoulder instability
- Abdomen conditions indicated by organ enlargement or a tumor
The Veterinary MRI Process
An MRI scan takes 45 minutes to an hour for both pets and humans and requires the patient to remain completely still throughout. As you might expect, coaxing a dog to remain completely still in a strange machine for 45 minutes would be an impossible task. As a result, dogs undergoing an MRI scan are given a general anesthetic. Blood tests and X-rays are typically recommended before the MRI to ensure that your pet is healthy enough to be sedated.
The Drawbacks of MRI Imaging for Dogs
One of the primary disadvantages of MRI for veterinary diagnostics is the requirement for general anesthesia. Some dogs may not be strong enough to undergo anesthesia, preventing MRI from being performed on them.
While MRI is particularly useful in diagnosing brain, spinal cord, and ligament issues, other diagnostic imaging tools, such as CT and radiography, are better at detecting other conditions (x-rays). In dogs, MRI may be less useful in diagnosing internal organs, fractures, or head trauma.
Another disadvantage of MRI is its high cost. If your pet requires an MRI, you should budget between $2000 and $3500. However, most pet insurance plans will cover the cost of diagnostic testing such as MRI (check with your insurer to see if MRI is covered for your pet).
Veterinary MRI on Dogs in Ventura
At Veterinary Medical and Surgical Group (VMSG) in Ventura, our veterinary neurologist uses the most advanced tools available to help provide an accurate diagnosis of your dog's medical issues. Our in-house diagnostic imaging capabilities, including veterinary MRI, allow us to provide quicker diagnosis and treatment options, as well as the ability to share detailed information with your primary care veterinarian in the most time-efficient manner.Note: The advice provided in this post is intended for informational purposes and does not constitute medical advice regarding pets. For an accurate diagnosis of your pet's condition, please make an appointment with your vet.
If your pet has been diagnosed with a serious medical condition requiring more detailed diagnostic imaging such as MRI? Contact our Veterinary Medical and Surgical Group (VMSG) team for help.
Looking for a veterinary specialist in Ventura?We're always accepting new patients, so contact our veterinary hospital today to book your pet's first appointment.
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