The Animal Neurology & Imaging Center (The ANIC) offers the most advanced diagnostic imaging for small animals (dogs and cats). Our Phoenix-area clinic, located within the Animal Medical & Surgical Center, is equipped with MRI to help our doctors see what is going on inside your pet’s body to learn more about the cause and possible treatment options for neurological disorders.
How MRI Works
MRI uses a magnet that is about 1,000 times stronger than a refrigerator magnet to manipulate and scan the nucleus of water molecules, which comprise about 60% of an animal’s body. The scans create an image of anatomic structures that doctors would not otherwise be able to see without exploratory surgery.
MRI is non-invasive and does not involve radiation, but it does require the patient being scanned to be completely immobile. As a result, nearly all dogs and cats must go under general anesthesia before the MRI procedure.
The Diagnostic Potential of MRI
MRI allows doctors to see internal structures of the nervous system—i.e., brain, spinal cord, spinal fluid, vertebrae, etc. This visualization helps our doctors identify the cause of many neurological conditions, such as:
- Congenital malformations
By locating where the problem exists in the dog’s or cat’s nervous system, we can better explain how the rest of the body is or may be affected. The underlying neuroanatomic cause of symptoms also determines what type of treatment is best for your pet.
Your Pet’s Experience During MRI
The ANIC staff take every measure necessary to ensure your pet’s safety and comfort during the MRI procedure.
Before the procedure can be done, we first make sure your pet is healthy enough for general anesthesia. We may perform our own blood tests or get recent results from your general veterinarian. For 24 hours before the test, your pet must fast (no food). The morning of the procedure, your pet cannot have water.
Once cleared for the procedure, your dog or cat may be fitted with specialized coils to enhance imaging quality. For the entire duration of the procedure and recovery process, your pet is constantly monitored. We have a veterinary nurse dedicated to keeping watch over your pet’s vitals, such as heart rate, heart rhythm, blood oxygenation and respiratory status.
Recovery is usually uneventful. Most pets wake up groggy; some may experience mild nausea and/or vomiting. Depending on the results of the MRI, your pet may go home with you or stay at our Phoenix clinic for emergency or next-day surgery.
Contact us to speak to a board-certified neurologist to see if magnetic resonance imaging can benefit your pet’s diagnosis and treatment.