Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) is an advanced imaging procedure that takes comprehensive images of the internal structures of your cat or dog to assist in determining an accurate diagnosis. MRIs are used to identify issues such as spinal issues, compression fractures, inflammation, infection and tumors that can't be seen with other imaging modalities.
Veterinary Clinical Trials Network combines experience, expertise, a highly skilled team with cutting-edge equipment to provide the highest level of care for your pet.
Please contact us (preferably via email at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone 410-614-0105) to inquire about scheduling an MRI. You should have your veterinarian(s) email us a copy of your pet’s medical record including any radiographs (x-rays) that have been taken of the pet.
Please include how soon you would like the pet to be imaged (i.e. asap) and if there are any dates/times that work or do not work for scheduling the procedure. You should plan on the pet being with us for half a day.
MRI stands for magnetic resonance imaging. It is a diagnostic imaging technique that allows us to see what is going on inside the body without performing an invasive procedure (such as surgery). MRIs involve powerful magnets.
No. Unlike CT, there is no radiation involved with MRI procedures. MRI works by taking a magnet and aligning protons (in hydrogen atoms) within the cells of the body. These atoms are found within water inside tissue in the body. Veterinary radiologists with expertise in reading MRIs are able to tell the difference between various tissue types based on the magnetic properties.
MRIs are outpatient procedures, meaning the veterinary patient comes into the hospital and goes home the same day. Each veterinary patient has an intravenous catheter inserted for anesthesia and fluid administration during the procedure. Sometimes (not always), a pet will be given a contrast agent, typically containing gadolinium. This contrast agent helps distinguish tissue that is highly vascular. Each MRI generates hundreds of images that will be evaluated by a veterinary radiologist.
Yes. Unlike people, whom we can ask to lay down on an MRI table and stay still, pets are unable to do the same. Dr. Krimins and the entire team at the Veterinary Clinical Trials Network (VCTN) at Johns Hopkins University are experts at veterinary MRI and MR-compatible anesthesia requirements for pets.
No. MRIs stay on at all times. This is one of the reasons that working in an MR environment is unique and requires expertise. It’s important that nothing be brought into the MRI suite (including inside or outside the patient) that contains metal elements which can be attracted to the magnetic field.
A typical MRI for a veterinary patient is 60-90 minutes long, during which time the patient must lie motionless.
There is no immediate problem if a patient moves during an MRI. However, the resulting images are often non-diagnostic (the images are blurry and therefore not able to be read by a veterinary radiologist). When a patient moves during a scan, that portion of the scan will need to be repeated. Repeated sequences will lengthen the total time of the MRI and increase the total time the patient is under anesthesia. Dr. Krimins and her team have extensive experience choosing appropriate anesthetics for the time needed to acquire images.
There are different MRIs available to veterinary patients. Some MRIs are of superior quality compared to other MRIs. The unit of measurement used to quantify the strength of a magnetic field in a MRI is called a Tesla (T). Around the country, most MRIs found in veterinary hospitals range from 0.2-1.5T strength. VCTN is delighted to be able to utilize multiple 3T MRIs within the Department of Radiology and Radiological Science at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine for veterinary patient imaging. Currently, there are fewer than five facilities across the country that have 3T MRIs available for imaging veterinary patients.