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MRI Scans for Dogs

At Atlantic Coast New York Veterinary Specialists, our board-certified veterinarians use advanced diagnostic tools including our in-house MRI, which can help to diagnose a range of health issues in dogs from a ruptured cranial cruciate ligament to brain tumors. Today, our vets in Long Island talk about why MRI scans can be useful, and the conditions this technology can help diagnose in dogs.

Veterinary MRIs

A veterinary MRI uses powerful magnets and radio waves to create detailed images of the internal structures of pets. This diagnostic tool allows veterinarians to study soft tissues, organs, and bones with exceptional clarity, helping to identify and diagnose various medical conditions such as tumors, spinal cord injuries, and joint abnormalities.

Conditions That MRIs Can Help to Diagnose 

If your dog is exhibiting symptoms such as limping, lameness, seizures, joint pain, neck pain, back pain, or paralysis, an MRI might be recommended to help diagnose the cause of your dog's symptoms. MRI scans can be used to help diagnose a wide range of conditions in dogs including:

  • Spinal disc tumor, herniated discs, or stenosis
  • Brain tumor, inflammation, or abscess
  • Stroke
  • Musculoskeletal diseases and injuries (e.g. ruptured cranial cruciate ligament, shoulder instability)
  • Conditions affecting the abdomen as indicated by organ enlargement or tumor

The Veterinary MRI Process

During an MRI scan, the pet is placed inside a large machine that uses powerful magnets and radio waves to create detailed images of their internal organs and tissues. The pet must remain still during the procedure, which typically lasts between 30 minutes to an hour, in order to obtain clear and accurate images for the veterinarian to analyze. Sedation is usually necessary for some pets to ensure they remain calm and motionless throughout the process.

The Cost of a Veterinary MRI

The cost of a veterinary MRI can vary depending on factors such as location, the size of the pet, and any additional services required. It is important to consult with the veterinarian or specialist to get an accurate estimate for your pet’s specific situation.

Potential Drawbacks of Veterinary MRIs

The need for general anesthetic is one of the primary drawbacks of MRI for veterinary diagnostics. Some dogs may not be strong enough to go under anesthetic, which means that MRI is not an option for them as a diagnostic tool.

Although MRI is particularly useful in diagnosing brain, spinal cord, and ligament issues, there are other conditions that are better detected using other diagnostic imaging tools, such as CT and radiography (X-rays). MRI may be less helpful when diagnosing internal organs, fractures, or head trauma in dogs.

Another drawback of MRI is the cost, which can be prohibitive for some pet parents. If your dog needs an MRI, it could get pricey. Despite this, pet insurance plans will typically cover the cost of diagnostic testing such as MRI, (check with your insurer to see if MRI is part of your pet's coverage).

Veterinary MRI for Pets in Long Island

At Atlantic Coast New York Veterinary Specialists in Long Island, our veterinarians use the most advanced tools available to help provide an accurate diagnosis of your pet's medical issues. Our in-house diagnostic imaging capabilities, including veterinary MRI, allow us to provide quicker diagnosis and treatment options, as well as the ability to share detailed information with your primary care veterinarian in the most time-efficient manner.

Note: The advice provided in this post is intended for informational purposes and does not constitute medical advice regarding pets. For an accurate diagnosis of your pet's condition, please make an appointment with your vet.

If your pet has been diagnosed with a serious medical condition requiring more detailed diagnostic imaging such as MRI, ask your vet for a referral to Atlantic Coast New York Veterinary Specialists in Long Island, or contact our team to learn more.

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