Standing MRI in Horses

Learn about the standing MRI process step-by-step, and take a look inside the equine foot.

Prior to MRI: Remove Shoes

Prior to having an MRI performed, the horse must have all shoes removed and the hooves cleaned. Steel horseshoes and nails are magnetic and cannot enter the MRI scanner.

Photo: Kevin Thompson

Prior to MRI: General Anesthesia

The horse is sedated prior to the MRI scan. General anesthesia, which is required for recumbent MRI, is not necessary for standing MRI.

Photo: Kevin Thompson

MRI Room

The horse is moved from the exam area to the MRI room, which is clear of any magnetic objects.

Photo: Kevin Thompson

Positioning the Leg

Once the horse is in MRI room, his leg is positioned in the unit. The standing MRI scans an area about the size of a grapefruit, so veterinarians perform careful diagnostics prior to MRI to localize the area of interest.

Photo: Kevin Thompson

Positioning the Horse

Technicians now position the sedated horse so that he’s balanced over all four legs. This will help limit the horse’s movement during the scan. The MRI room is lined with metal, which is seen in this image, to prevent interference from external radio waves.

Photo: Kevin Thompson

The MRI Unit

The MRI unit consists of a radio transmitter and receiver coil and a magnet. Here, a technician places the radio transmitter and receiver coil on the horse’s leg.

Photo: Kevin Thompson

The MRI Magnet

This image shows the MRI magnet as the technician sets its position prior to the scan.

Photo: Kevin Thompson

Close Monitoring

A technician stays at the horse's head during the scan, which can take 45 minutes or more. Note that the horse is wearing a halter with brass fittings, which are not magnetic.

Photo: Kevin Thompson

MRI Images

The MRI produces image "slices" of the foot, giving clinicians clear insight into the foot's internal structures. The images are produced digitally as soon as they're acquired.

Photo: Kevin Thompson

MRI Images: A Closer Look

Here's a closer look of the images produced during the MRI scan.

Photo: Kevin Thompson

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