It’s taken 3 years to fully install, but this week vets at Kansas State University are starting to use a new MRI device on animals. An MRI is a non-invasive way of examining soft tissue structures in the body, but the new MRI at K-State’s Veterinary Hospital, takes treatment to a new level . 

“Primarily we are looking at neurologic injuries; especially damage to the spinal cord from herniated disc or trauma, (animals)hit by a car, brain injuries, and brain tumors. We can produce very detailed images of these structures without using radiation,” said Tom Schwartz, the K-State Veterinarian Hospital Director.

The lack of radiation makes the equipment more safe for technicians and the animals. Instead of radiation, the MRI uses a powerful magnet for clinical imaging. 

“The nice thing about the strength of the magnet, is the speed of imaging. So we can decrease the amount of time the animal spends in there. And detail too. We will be able to image smaller structures more rapidly, with the greater detail or ability to image smaller structures or abnormalities we can see disease earlier,” said David Biller, professor of radiology at the College of Veterinary Medicine.  

With the new MRI, veterinarians say they can now treat larger animals, like horses, and other exotic animals too. This is the first MRI of this caliber in this area of the Midwest, and it’s giving animals a higher level of care. 

“We have veterinarians around the Midwest who refer to Kansas State and a great number of specialists who are here. But this offers a new modality and diagnostic modality, that will enable us to attract or help patients from around the Midwest,” Schwartz said. 

Kansas State University also plans to use the new MRI equipment to better train students. 

“Students will have a better idea when they’re out and practicing, what kind of patients they can refer here. I think the generation of information here is not only to benefit the future healthcare of our patients, but of human patients. We’re going to generate information that can be used in both in veterinary and in human patients,” Biller said.
Veterinarians say they hope to find even more uses for the equipment, the more they use it.
At this point they plan to use the MRI on their animal patients at least 3-7 times per week.