What is an MRI scan?

Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) is a type of scan that creates detailed images of inside your pet’s body. Unlike CT scans, which use ionising radiation, MRI scans use magnetic fields to produce high-quality images of the body part being scanned.

When do we use an MRI?

An MRI scan for dogs and cats is most commonly used to examine problems with soft tissue structures, such as the brain or spinal cord. Although MRI is most frequently used in pets with neurological problems, it can be used for other conditions too (for example, to aid surgical planning prior to tumour removal)


MRI scanner


How does an MRI scan work?

An MRI scanner is a large, tube-shaped machine containing powerful magnets, with a table in the middle to allow your pet to slide in safely. If you have ever had an MRI scan, you’ll know that it’s quite noisy and takes some time during which you must lie absolutely still. For these reasons, cats and dogs are scanned under general anaesthesia.

When the magnets in an MRI scan are switched on, the protons (subatomic particles) align according to the magnetic field. When the magnets are switched off, the protons realign into their initial configuration, releasing energy as they do so this energy can be detected and forms the basis of the images we see in an MRI scan.

Are MRI scans safe for pets?

Although it can be frightening to hear your pet needs an MRI scan, they are a completely painless, non-invasive procedure. At Swift, we use a state of the art Siemens 1.5T Aera scanner to help get a quick and accurate diagnosis for your pet.