CT and MRI Advanced Imaging, Does It Really Matter?

Does Veterinary CT or MRI really matter too much, besides the corporate financial ‘bottom line?’ What can the normal client do with most intracranial* results gained from a $1800-$2400 test?

Here’s what it boils down to:

Would you be more inclined to take your pet to a clinic that touts: “Now using the latest in magnetic resonance imaging MRI” or a clinic that says “We can make Xrays”     Seriously. It’s cool. But does it matter? 


CT scans for pet


*”MRI and CT are for MORE than just intracranial imaging” Really? Exactly WHAT can you diagnose with MRI or CT that you can’t diagnose for a fraction of the cost in real-time with a competent, experienced radiograph and US? (For $700/both versus $1800 for one?)

Please understand, I’m BUYING an MRI and a CT machine for my clinic. I’ll have them by the end of 2021. I mean, they won’t WORK, will probably be military surplus from 1975 and will stay in their crates….and that’s okay because none of my clients (hardly ANY clients anywhere) actually NEED an MRI or a CT scan but if I’m going to keep my clients with Blue Pearl down the street making a big deal out of their deep-pockets imaging, I’m going to have to be able to put on my window: “On site MRI” and “On site CT Scan”. It will LITERALLY mean as much (actually as little) to the health of my patients as it will to theirs.

Necessary? No. I’d like to hear one case where CT or MRI “saved the day” for a pet. Diagnosed it? YES. Aided legitimate treatment? Nope*. 

Good for appearances? Yes, according to corporate marketing weasels. 

*There will NEVER be a time when I couldn’t send the cases to Dr Boozer and she couldn’t figure it out with an Ultrasound or Echocardiogram, or send to Dr Filer who couldn’t fail dope it out with a simple Xray or Myelogram for at least half the expense, time, tubing, and twice the accuracy.

But those tests aren’t ‘snazzy‘ anymore. Now it’s all about the big magnetic tube. Then doubling-back to ultrasound and Xrays to figure out what they just saw on the MRI ha ha ha ha ha ha!!!


Dr Erik Johnson is a Marietta, Georgia Veterinarian with a practice in small animal medicine. He graduated from University of Georgia with his Doctorate in 1991. Dr Johnson is the author of several texts on Koi and Pond Fish Health and Disease as well as numerous articles on dog and cat health topics.