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Vet Gazette

Oregon State University College of Veterinary Medicine eNewsletter

Pets soon able to get magnetic imaging (MRI)

October 12th, 2010

Early morning on October 5th, a large truck rolled in behind the back of the small and large animal facility of the Lois Bates Acheson Veterinary Teaching Hospital (VTH) delivering a 1 Tesla magnetic resonance tomography unit in a mobile trailer. Stan Stearns, who is a member of the advisory council, the founder and president of Valco Instruments Co. Inc., and founder of The Gabriel Institute, donated the MRI to the College. (The Gabriel Institute was named after his beloved Saint Bernard who passed away due to osteosarcoma.)

MRiComputed tomography (CT), which is already available at the VTH, provides better detail in imaging lesions involving the bone. MRI, one of the newest imaging methods, uses the properties and presence of water (more precisely the mobile hydrogen protons) for imaging. Most of an animal’s body consists of water. By using strong magnets and radio waves to manipulate the natural magnetic properties in the body (usually the hydrogen protons in the water in the body), this technique is able to image physiologic and pathologic processes in the body. MRI is especially useful in imaging the brain and spine, as well as the soft tissue of joints and the interior structures of bones. MRI does not involve radiation and is therefore considered a very safe imaging modality.

Currently, the last hurdles have been undertaken to staff the MRI and final adjustments will be made to perform MRI exams on small-sized animals in the trailer. We are excited and looking forward to scanning our first patients in the MRI in the very near future.

— Dr. Susanne Stieger-Vanegas, Diagnostic Imaging Services

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