MRI is increasingly used as a diagnostic by veterinary specialists. During MRI, companion animals require anesthesia, since the pet needs to be motionless for an extended period of time. At VIoC, all scans are overseen by a veterinarian who closely monitors the pet's heart rate, blood pressure, oxygen levels and other vital signs to ensure the pet's well-being.
Kevin C. Stevens, RT, (R)(MR) is Chief of Imaging. A nationally certified radiologic technologist in Radiography and MRI, Kevin has worked for eight years in medical imaging, and for the past five years has undertaken veterinary imaging under the guidance of Jay McDonnell, DVM, MS, Diplomate ACVIM (Neurology), of Veterinary Neurology of the Chesapeake.
With its excellent soft-tissue detail and three-dimensional reconstruction, MRI is one of the most powerful imaging techniques available. A safe, non-invasive and pain-free way to evaluate structures within the body, MRI utilizes a powerful magnetic field, radio-frequency pulses and computer to produce detailed pictures of internal body structures. MRI does not use ionizing radiation like conventional radiographs (x-rays) or computerized tomography (CT).
Since MRIs require anesthesia, patients should have recent laboratory work and chest radiographs prior to the scan. Patients should not be given food 12 to 24 hours prior to the scan. The anesthesia is typicallly given intravenously, but can be given by inhalant. Since MRI is not a painful procedure, the heavy pre-operative opioids and sedatives are generally avoided. The recovery from the anesthesia is usually quite rapid and smooth, allowing patients to undergo this procedure and return home the same day.
Indications for MRI include: