Advanced Medical Imaging for Pets

Our Neurology service applies the same technology used to see inside the human body—magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) and computerized tomography (CT) scans are non-invasive diagnostic imaging methods used to examine what is going on inside your pet’s body that the naked eye cannot see.

MRIs and CT scans are useful in diagnosing neurological issues resulting from congenital defects, aging and/or trauma. By creating a picture of the brain, spinal cord and fluid, vertebrae, etc., our doctors can see where the problem in the nervous system lies, and that helps us explain how the rest of your pet’s body is being (or may be) affected.

The Neurology service has special coils made to fit small animals that help us get better images for improved diagnostic capability.

Computed tomography (CT) is a special x-ray technology in which a computer is used to create highly detailed cross-sectional images of a portion of the body. In CT, the x-ray tube rotates around the patient and generates axial slices (like the slices in a loaf of bread). CT is especially good in evaluating bone (fractures, infections, tumors) and vertebral lesions such as calcified disks.

A contrast agent (dye) is sometimes administered intravenously to highlight and obtain additional detail of tissue within the area of interest.

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Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) uses a strong magnetic field and radiofrequency pulses to create images of fluid, soft tissue and bones. The images produced are similar to CT but provide greater detail of soft tissues such as the brain, spinal cord, tendons and ligaments. This extra detail is important to identify subtle neurological abnormalities and to clearly distinguish normal tissue from abnormal tissue.

In many cases, an intravenous contrast agent (dye) is injected into the patient’s bloodstream to improve the visibility of certain structures.

What Happens During MRI and CT Scans

Pets undergoing CT or MRI require sedation or general anesthesia in order to minimize movement during the study. Before administering any anesthetic, we always make sure your pet is healthy enough to undergo the procedure by doing in-house diagnostics or retrieving recent diagnostic test results from your primary care veterinarian.

All patients are closely monitored by our technical team throughout their entire scan. Once the imaging is complete, your pet will be transferred to our intensive care unit, where they are continually monitored by a veterinary nurse for recovery.