Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) is the gold standard for imaging the soft tissues of the body, such as the brain, tendons/ligaments and abdomen. The strength of the magnet is measured in Teslas; most human hospitals utilize a 1.0 – 1.5 Tesla magnet. Any magnet that is 1.0 Tesla or stronger is considered a “high-field” magnet; basically the stronger the magnet, the better quality of images and the faster the scan can be completed (i.e. less time under anesthesia). In fact, many human insurance companies will not agree to pay for anything less than 1.0 Tesla because of lower diagnostic quality! The MRI at Animal Specialty Hospital of Florida is a GE 1.0 Tesla magnet and was relocated from a human hospital in the state of Washington just two months prior to installation at our facility.
Animals that have an MRI must be fully anesthetized because they have to be completely motionless. A nurse anesthetist closely monitors anesthesia inside the MRI room during the entire scan which usually lasts 30-45 minutes.