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MRI: Cutting edge diagnostics

Our MRI unit

Our purpose-built MRI units are based at our 24-Hour Hospital in Hendon and our Wool practice. Prior to having MRI units, Medivet offered an MRI service to its clients through the use of a visiting mobile scanner. We use the services of highly regarded experts and specialists to help us interpret the scans and recommend the best treatment options.

What is MRI?

MRI stands for Magnetic Resonance Imaging. It involves using magnetic fields and radio waves to produce a high-resolution image of the area being scanned. These areas, such as the brain and spinal cord, are often not easily or thoroughly imaged in other ways.


What is an MRI scanner used for?

The images assist us in diagnosing health problems and in planning further treatment. It is commonly used in the investigation of:

  • Brain disease
  • Ear disease
  • Spinal disease
  • Nasal disease
  • Seizures/epilepsy
  • Musculoskeletal problems
  • Cancer diagnosis and treatment planning
  • Behaviour changes

What are the benefits of an MRI scan?

The key feature of an MRI scan is that it gives a very clear, high-resolution image of what is happening inside your pet. This allows for vets to make a more precise diagnosis and gain a better understanding of your pet’s condition.

Alternatively, they may be used to work out the extent of a problem – the size of a tumour, and whether it is amenable to surgical removal, for example.


What is the necessary preparation for an MRI scan?

MRI scanning involves the patient lying very still in order to obtain the images and for this reason they need to be anaesthetised whilst they are being scanned.

They should not have any food from 8pm the night before and their water bowl should be removed first thing in the morning.

The anaesthetic may make your pet feel a bit sorry for themselves afterwards, but they should be back to normal within a couple of days.

Are there any risks?

Unlike with X-rays or CT scanning, there are no known side-effects of MRI scanning. However, anaesthesia always carries a small risk, which we minimise by using modern anaesthetics and careful monitoring. The MRI unit is equipped with a capnograph which is used to monitor CO2 levels whilst pets are anaesthetised.

A contrast agent may need to be injected intravenously into your pet during the scan. In a very small number of cases, contrast agents can cause allergic reactions. Care also needs to be taken when using contrast agents in pets with kidney problems.