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About Our MRI


Compass Veterinary Neurology & Imaging (CVNI) houses a GE 1.5T MRI scanner. An MRI scan is a procedure that uses a strong magnetic field to generate high-resolution images of the soft tissues in the body. It is the gold standard diagnostic procedure for imaging soft tissue encased in bone, such as the central nervous system and some joint spaces. This detailed imaging allows veterinarians to diagnose conditions that are not seen on conventional radiography, allowing them to formalize the most appropriate treatment plans for their patients. Due to the loud noises emitted by the magnet during this procedure, dogs and cats must be placed under general anesthesia in order to remain still for a diagnostic MRI scan. Scans require, on average, one hour of anesthesia. At CVNI, all imaging-related anesthesia is overseen by a qualified veterinarian to ensure the highest level of patient safety.

About Our CT

CVNI houses a Toshiba Aquilion multi-slice helical Computed Tomography (CT) scanner in our building. A CT scan is a procedure that uses multiple x-ray images, called slices, to generate a cross-sectional image of the area being scanned. In addition, our CT unit allows for 3-D reconstruction, aiding in both establishing a diagnosis and planning treatment. The sensitivity of CT is approximately 10 times higher than conventional radiography. Therefore, CT scans can often detect abnormalities sooner and with more accuracy than a radiograph.

The scanner allows for rapid assessment scans that minimize anesthesia time and risk, and in some cases, can be performed under sedation. Scans are often completed in several minutes, resulting in decreased risk to the patient and less cost to the client. Veterinarians may refer patients for outpatient CT scans using the Outpatient Imaging Request form found on our website.

  • Radiation Exposure
    CT - The effective radiation dose from CT ranges from 2 to 10 mSv, which is about the same as the average person receives from background radiation in 3 to 5 years. MRI - None. MRI machines do not emit ionizing radiation.
  • Time Require to Complete Scan
    CT - Typically 10-20 minutes – some studies can be done under sedation. MRI - Typically 40-60 minutes – due to the loud noises during the study, anesthesia is required.
  • Effects on the Body
    CT - CT can pose the risk of irradiation. Painless, noninvasive. MRI - No biological hazards have been reported with the use of MRI.
  • Applications
    CT - Suited for bone injuries, nasal/ear, thoracic & abdominal imaging, detection of metastatic disease, and soft tissue structures outside the CNS. MRI - Suited for soft tissue evaluation, particularly those surrounded by bone - spinal cord, brain, ligaments and tendons within joints. **For patients where brain or spinal cord disease is suspected, we recommend seeking a neurologist consultation prior to requesting outpatient imaging.**
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