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What is MRI?

Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) is an imaging

technique that uses a strong magnetic field and pulses of radiofrequency energy to cause tissues to emit characteristic energy signals. The MRI computer converts the signal intensity to varying shades of grey in the image.

The main advantages of MRI versus the conventional x-ray include:

  1. Higher sensitivity for subtle changes in soft tissue chemical properties
  2. The ability to acquire images in any plane desired
  3. Absence of ionizing radiation: this means that MRI is a NON-INVASIVE technique
Left: An X-Ray of a hock. You would be able to see a fracture but it is hard to see tissue damage.
Right: an MRI of the same joint – the detail is much better and the image is far more likely to be diagnostic for soft tissue injuries.

The MRI is now considered the GOLD STANDARD for diagnosing:










  1. Intracranial disease (tumours, strokes, developmental disorders, cranial nerves disorders…)
  2. Brain infectious disease (meningitis)
  3. Spinal disease (Intervertebral disk degeneration, intramedullary neoplasia, nerve roots neoplasia…)
  4. middle/inner ear disease

Other applications include:

  • Deeper studies of complex anatomical regions as the hock joint
  • Detection of small changes in soft tissues in the abdominal cavity

What’s happened to my dog/cat during a scan?

  1. General light anaesthesia
  2. He/She will be positioned on a table in a tube-shaped or open gantry in which there is a constant strong magnetic field
  3. He/She will sleep while the veterinary surgeon runs the scan

How long is the procedure?

It depends on

  1. the anatomical region to analyse
  2. what the vet has found and what he wants to investigate
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