MRI Information

Listed below is some information to help you understand the MRI procedure and what to expect on the day of your horse’s MRI at B&W Equine Hospital. You should also have received a leaflet explaining a little bit about MRI and how it may help your horse.

What to expect

  • We ask that your horse arrives approximately 1hour prior to the scheduled scan time. This will give your horse a chance to settle into the new environment and therefore be as calm as possible before the scan.
  • Arriving early also gives us time to assess your horse for lameness (if required).
  • If your horse is shod the shoes will need to be removed, either prior to arrival or we will remove them on arrival. If we are scanning front limbs it is not necessary to remove hind shoes and visa-versa. Shoe removal is necessary because:
  1. The metal will stick to the magnet, which is part of the MRI system.
  2. Metal causes an artefact in the images produced called a “signal void”. This is a large black area in the image which obscures the structures around it that we are trying to image.
  • If we are scanning your horse’s feet we will also take a radiograph of each foot to check that no nail fragments remain following shoe removal.
  • The MRI procedure carries no risk to your horse and is non-painful. However, some horses find the environment strange and don’t settle well. Your horse will be sedated for the procedure. As the scan takes quite a long time it will be necessary to top the sedation up during the scan.
  • It is routine procedure to scan both limbs even if your horse is only lame in one leg. This is to enable comparison and is included in the price of a standard scan. We may only scan one leg if your horse is coming in for a re-examination or if we are looking to make a specific diagnosis (e.g. if your horse has trodden on a nail).
  • Please expect the MRI to take at least 3hours (standard time to scan one foot is 1hour). It is necessary for the horse to stand still whilst we are scanning. If they move we have to start again which will make the scan take longer.
  • We routinely give the horse a short break between scanning each limb.
  •  It is not possible for you to be with your horse whilst he/she is being scanned but we are very happy to show you the scanning room, etc. if you’re interested.
  • If it is more convenient for you, you are welcome to drop your horse off and come back later. If you are travelling a long way, two nights livery are included in the price.
  • If further lameness investigation/treatment is indicated, from the MRI findings, then it may be necessary for your horse to stay longer. If you have been referred from another practice we will speak to your vet regarding further investigation before going ahead.
  • Evaluating MRI images fully takes some time so please do not expect to know the MRI findings for your horse before you leave. It is routine for us to communicate with your vet first and we will either discuss the findings with you directly, if your vet requests this, or will leave your vet to discuss these with you themselves. Wherever possible we endeavour to report the findings within 2 working days following the MRI scan.
  • Most insurance companies now pay for 100% of the cost of an MRI. However, if your horse is insured please seek prior approval from the insurance company.

We hope this helps you to understand what to expect but please do not hesitate to contact us if you have any further queries/concerns.

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B&W Equine Vets
Equine Hospital
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