Frequently Asked Questions
MRI is short for magnetic resonance imaging and CT stands for computed tomography. Both are considered advanced imaging modalities for diagnostic purposes and have been used in veterinary medicine for over 20 years. They are painless, non-invasive procedures that help us make precise diagnoses in a very short period of time. There are only a handful of specialty hospitals that have both onsite.
MRI and CT are powerful imaging modalities. They have different applications, although there is some overlap. We rely on our knowledge to make an informed decision as to which imaging technique to use based on the patient's age, history, region to be imaged, discussion with the referring primary care veterinarian, and, if needed, consultation with a radiologist or other specialist. We can image areas such as the sinus cavities, skull, brain, spinal cord, intervertebral disks, abdominal organs, lungs, muscles, nerves, tendons, ligaments, and joints with much more detail than the average X-ray.
Pets having an MRI or CT must be placed under anesthesia so that they remain still for the exam. In preparation for general anesthesia, they should not eat after 10 p.m. the night before the exam. It is all right for them to have water available until two hours prior to their scheduled appointment time. Ask your primary care veterinarian for instructions if your pet is on any medications.
Your pet will be anesthetized between one and one and a half hours for the imaging study. Before any anesthesia is given, we will make sure that your pet is healthy enough to undergo anesthesia. All vital signs will be carefully monitored during and after the anesthesia.
Your pet may be a bit disoriented for about an hour. We will watch your pet closely until it has recovered. Once your pet is standing and able to move around safely, we will send them home with you. Once home, it will be important to keep your pet away from stairs and furniture until it has fully recovered so that they do not become injured. Your pet should be back to normal the following morning.
At Care, we have several diagnostic imaging modalities onsite to help us make accurate and rapid diagnoses. Every department in the hospital utilizes one or more of these sophisticated techniques to determine the best course of treatment or to monitor a specific condition.
Whether referred by your family veterinarian for a particular diagnostic study or if your pet is in the hospital and one of our medical team orders the imaging, rest assured that these procedures are painless and very safe. In some cases, your pet will need to be anesthetized for the procedure (CT Scan), and there is always a risk with anesthesia, however the anesthetic episode is relatively short (5–30 minutes) and your pet will be continuously monitored during and after the diagnostic procedure.
The most common diagnostic modalities utilized are care include:
- Digital Radiography (x-ray)
- Computed Tomography (CT Scan)