How Much Is An MRI For A Dog?

If you are asking ‘how much is an MRI for a dog?’, it should be because that is what your vet has recommended. MRIs for dogs (and animals in general) are definitely more expensive than MRIs for humans.

How Much Is An MRI For A Dog
Image by David Mark from Pixabay

So, your vet will probably only prescribe getting an MRI if they still can’t find what the problem is even after running a couple of tests.

And if you do not have a ‘family vet’, you might want to get a second opinion if the vet tells you an MRI is necessary.

Before we move further, allow us quickly point out that MRI stands for Magnetic Resonance Imaging.

It differs from an X-Ray in that it uses magnetic fields in getting images as against the X-Ray’s ionizing radiation. And the magnetic fields are generally safer than ionizing radiation.

How Much Is An MRI For A Dog?

The cost of an MRI is dependent on different factors. These factors include your location, the hospital, how many parts have to be scanned and whether or not the scanning is done during hospital hours.

It could be more expensive to get an MRI in certain states than in others and same goes for hospitals.

In fact, getting an MRI in a teaching hospital will cost significantly less than getting one in a regular hospital. And this is because the basic idea of teaching hospitals isn’t necessarily to make money.

Furthermore, the more parts that have to be scanned, the higher the cost you are incurring.

Just like with X-Rays, getting an MRI is costed per body part that needs to be scanned. So, getting an MRI scan for back and paw will cost more than getting an MRI for just paw.

Finally, a hospital will charge you more if the MRI is done outside of working hours than if it is done within hospital hours.

And it kind of makes sense because if the hospital is going to call someone to work when they shouldn’t be, said hospital probably needs to pay said person more.

Altogether, getting an MRI for your dog could cost anything between 1000 and 3000 dollars. However, you could get your vet to charge you less and there are actually really high end hospitals that will charge more.

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Why Exactly Does An MRI For Dogs Cost So Much?

The major reason an MRI costs more for dogs than humans is anesthetics. Animals need those to keep still during an MRI scan.

The MRI machine itself is pretty expensive which automatically means that maintaining it will be too. So, that is definitely factored into how much you are charged for a scan.

Furthermore, considering that MRIs use a magnetic field, the machine has to be put in a special room that is able to contain the magnetic waves and prevent it from getting out to where it isn’t needed.

This room also ensures that no external factor interferes with the magnetic field.

Then there is the fact that specialists are needed to operate the machine. Now, what we’ve already mentioned explain why an MRI is expensive in general.

However, the major reason it costs more for dogs (and animals in general) is anaesthetics.

To get an MRI scan, one will have to keep still for a period of time (say between 15 and 20 minutes) and pets cannot stay still for that long.

So, having them anaesthetized makes it so that they do not interrupt the process with their movements and that definitely contributes to the overall cost of getting an MRI scan(source).

Cheshire Animal
Image by J C from Pixabay

What If I Can’t Afford The Cost?

Some hospitals will allow you pay in instalments. So, you’ll have to check with your vet on that. However, something you really need to consider as a dog parent is pet insurance.

And you’ll need to bear in mind that the kind of insurance you get will determine whether or whether not the MRI cost will be covered.

So, if you get an accident insurance, it means your insurance company will only be able to cover the cost of an MRI scan if the need for said scan is a result of an accident.

A full policy will allow you get money irrespective of the cause.

So, how much is an MRI for a dog? A significant amount. However, do speak with your vet and see if there is anything they can do for you.

How Much Is An MRI For A Dog? — FAQs

How Much Do Veterinary MRI Machines Cost?

Veterinary MRI machines cost anywhere between 100,000 and 300,000 dollars. And this is actually the discounted rate.

How Long Does An MRI Take For A Dog?

An MRI for a dog will take anywhere between 25 and 30 minutes. Because whoever is going through the MRI scan has to be still for the duration of the scan and it is practically impossible for a dog to stay still for that long, your dog will have to be anaesthetized.

Can You Get An MRI Without Insurance?

You can certainly get an MRI without insurance. However, expect to be billed by both the radiologist and the hospital or facility you go too. Also, without an insurance, MRI scans could be really expensive.

What If An MRI Shows Nothing?

It could be that there is nothing really wrong. However, what’s more likely is that something is really wrong and your vet might ask you to take other tests.

Unfortunately, at this point, MRI scans cannot detect everything that is wrong or every kind of pain. So, more intense tests might be ordered.

Are MRIs Ever Wrong?

It’s a rare thing for an MRI scan result to be wrong. Granted, the MRI might miss something but it is rare that the MRI will call something what it isn’t.

However, if there is ever a misdiagnosis as a result of the MRI, it could either be that there was a technical issue with the MRI machine or the radiologist read things wrong.

Can An MRI Tell If A Tumor Is Benign?

An MRI can usually tell if a tumor is benign or malignant. In addition to that, your dog’s MRI scan result could also tell your vet whether or not the cancer has spread to other parts of the body.

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