Magnetic Resonance Imagery - MRI


Magnetic Resonance Imagery, or MRI, is a harmless, non-invasive, pain-free procedure that creates detailed images of the body and brain. Unlike x-rays, magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) does not use ionizing radiation. All soft tissues can be visualized with MRI; however, dense bone and air are difficult to image with this procedure. MRI has been used in human medicine for several decades, and now veterinarians are using this technology to diagnose similar medical conditions in pets.

MRI is an excellent imaging tool. It provides exceptional detail, making it useful for imaging specific structures such as the brain, spinal cord, joints, abdominal organs and cardiovascular structures. MRI is considered as the best test for imaging soft tissues, especially the brain and spine.

General indications for MRI:

Brain - Neoplasia, infarcts, encephalitis

Spine & Spinal cord - Intervertebral disk disease (ivdd), neoplasia, myelitis, ischemic infarcts

Orthopedic - Joints, articular cartilage, ligaments, tendons, muscles

Oncology - diagnosis, extent of disease for determination of best surgical option

At this time, MRIs are mainly performed on animals to detect abnormalities in the brain and spinal cord. Brain tumors, herniated discs and spinal cord tumors are commonly diagnosed using MRI. MRIs are ideal for imaging the brain and lumbosacral area where myelograms are not as effective. The average scan takes between 20-60 minutes to perform, depending on the area of the pet to be imaged. A scan of the brain can take 2 hours. Since your pet must remain still during the MRI procedure, general anesthesia is necessary.At our clinics, we use the MRI facilities of a local human hospital. Throughout the entire MRI procedure, your pet is carefully monitored by one of our veterinarians. We may still do myelograms at our Wanchai clinic for owners who cannot afford a MRI.