Pet Health: MRIs – the window to the brain

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Vet Darren Storey brings you the latest news from Northlands Veterinary Hospital.

In this week’s blog I will be talking about MRI; the technicalities and how it can benefit your pet.

There are many ways vets can “see inside the body” of animals, and to name a few, we have X-rays, ultrasound, endoscopy; and one of the more advance magnetic resonance imaging (MRI).

Each has their place, but none of which can do everything; so we tend to use them in conjunction with each other.

However, the latter is one that is most advanced in viewing the brain and this is where we’ll focus on.

What is MRI and how does it work?

An MRI machine uses a magnetic field and radio waves to create detailed images of the brain (and other tissues).

The magnetic field effects the orientation of water molecules in the tissues, aligning them with that field.

We then introduce a radiofrequency pulse to those molecules which changes their orientation in that magnetic field.

We then switch it off and then go back to their original alignment.

As they do this energy is emitted and we detect this signal.

You hear a ‘clicking’ sound as the pulses are turned on and off.

Sound complicated right; well a basic video can be found here.

This ‘signal’ is read by the computer and an image is formed.

Now, depending on the intensity of that signal, it will relate to the type of tissue it is coming from.

This means we can tell the difference between bones, nerve tissue, fat, muscle; and a lot more.

Are you interested?

You may think that MRI scans can only be done at referral hospitals but at Northlands we provide our own MRI service; taking patients in every three or four weeks.

So far we have helped diagnose causes of seizures, spinal pain, joint problems, growths and much more.

Whether a client of ours or not I am happy to provide more information about MRI. Please call 01536 485543.