MRI scans take about 3 hours (sometimes longer) and horses will need to be admitted for the procedure. We usually admit horses the evening before the MRI is done, but we can do the MRI on the day of arrival if the horse is in the clinic by 8:30am.
EVERY horse will need to be sedated, and the front shoes removed (assuming it is a forelimb scan) as iron is strongly magnetic and causes a massive disruption to the MRI image.
Usually X-rays will be taken to check for the absence of metal within the hoof wall.
An average scan generates over 600 – 900 images and this takes time to read. All MRIs are examined by an independent imaging specialist and this can take 24 – 48 hours. Please don’t expect an ‘instant result’, it is very important to take time to consider all the scans properly as the future treatment of your horse will depend on correct interpretation. We have a panel of readers BUT we are happy to send scans to a reader of your choice.
We will not generally re work up cases (unless specifically requested to do so) and will usually only scan the regions specifically requested.
Getting the Most Clinical information from your MRI scan.
Experience shows that abaxial sesamoid nerve blocks are NOT sufficiently localising to the foot to ensure that a foot MRI scan will elucidate the correct cause of lameness. Therefore it is very important to perform a palmar digital block prior to foot MRI. In our experience horses positive to PDNB almost invariably have significant MRI findings on the standard foot sequences. Occasionally ASNBs will ‘block out’ higher lesions involving the fetlock or distal suspensory ligaments so if possible a PDNB should be considered the ‘gold standard’ block for foot MRI.
How to arrange an MRI.
Currently, the easiest way is to either email our office at firstname.lastname@example.org or simply phone 01283 799700.
We need a succinct history and importantly the blocking pattern – in most cases electronic copies of any radiographs are helpful.