What is Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI)?

Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) is a diagnostic imaging procedure that uses magnetic fields to look inside of your pet without using X-rays or surgery. A computer uses the magnetic signal to create highly detailed images that are later interpreted by a board-certified veterinary radiologist or neurologist, the only specialists qualified to read them.

MRI has been used in human diagnosis for years, however, MRI was not widely available in veterinary medicine until relatively recently. With this technology, veterinarians now can more accurately determine the cause and location of many animal diseases. Some veterinary facilities use low-field scanners that may miss subtle but significant changes, which is why we use only the most recent state-of-the-art high-field scanners for diagnosing our patients.

When is MRI the best imaging option?
  • Brain Evaluation (CSF Tap/ Seizure Evaluation package is available)
  • Spinal Imaging for Disc Disease and Tumors
  • Surgical Planning for Soft-Tissue Tumors and Muscle Tears
  • Abdominal Organs for Intra-Abdominal Masses
What happens during an MRI procedure?

Because they must lie completely still, MRI studies require that patients undergo anesthesia. All pets are closely monitored by our licensed, caring staff both during and after the procedure.

The MRI procedure itself is performed off site at a medical facility that is equipped with a highly advanced MRI machine, providing the same quality of images for your pet as for people. Click here to read a Q&A about off site imaging.

We want you and your pet to be as comfortable as possible with the MRI procedure. If you have any questions about the MRI process, we are always just a phone call away.

Safeguarding Your Pet

We go to great lengths to ensure the safety of all of our patients. This is why we require that chest X-rays and a full blood panel be done prior to undergoing anesthesia, and we only use the safest anesthetic possible in order to minimize patient risk and anesthesia time. We employ professional imaging technicians who, along with our staff veterinarian, very closely monitor our patients both during and after the MRI study. Our radiologists are passionate about our field and have gone through several years of advanced training to learn how to interpret MRI studies, ensuring only the best in image diagnostics for your pet.

Preparing for the Procedure

Before your scheduled MRI, please make sure to:

  • Refrain from giving your pet any food for 12 hours before dropping him or her off.
  • Check with your veterinarian or the VICSD staff before stopping any medication prior to the procedure.
  • Call the office at (858) 634-5430 to check the drop-off time and get any last-minute questions answered.
  • Aftercare at Home

    While the MRI itself has no side effects, the after effects of anesthesia can last 12 to 18 hours following the procedure. Our staff may ask that you wait a few hours after returning home to feed your pet and will go over instructions before you leave.

    Why Choose VICSD for MRI?

    We are the highest quality, most affordable veterinary MRI provider in the San Diego metropolitan area, with three board-certified radiologists and professional licensed technicians who set the best standard for animal care. Rather than itemizing costs for MRI, we feature comprehensive MRI packages that include:

    1. Patient evaluation prior to, during and following the procedure.
    2. Anesthetic induction (catheter, induction drugs, endotracheal tube and anesthetic monitoring)
    3. Anesthesia throughout the entire procedure (anesthesia for up to one hour, monitoring, and body temperature support).
    4. MRI
    5. MRI interpretation by a board-certified radiologist. (A neurologist interpretation can be included for a nominal fee.)
    6. Day hospitalization

    (Contrast is not included but adds a minimal cost.)

    When price shopping, be sure to ask hospitals specifically what is included in the price quoted so that you can make a more informed decision and reduce the risk of more expensive charges later.

    If you would like an estimate for your pet’s procedure, please give us a call at (858) 634-5430. We will be happy to go over your specific MRI package and any costs associated with it.

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