Nearby Low Cost MRI for Dogs: How Much Does a Dog MRI Cost?

A dog MRI is a powerful diagnostic tool that can help your vet make an accurate diagnosis. If your veterinarian recommends a dog MRI, you may be wondering what the procedure entails and how much it costs. While an MRI for your pet can be expensive, it is usually the best option for resolving certain medical issues.

Free or low cost MRI for dogs

Where can I get a low-cost MRI for dogs near me?

Many pet owners can’t afford insurance for their pets. In this case, an MRI will cost you a lot more and you may have difficulty paying for it.

Luckily, there are some ways you can get an MRI that you can afford, even without insurance. One of these is Animal Scan providing low-cost MRIs for dogs all over the country to help pet owners in need.

There is no flat rate for these services. It depends on the place you go to, as well as your pet’s specific needs. But they can offer MRIs for as low as $1000. In the world of pet MRIs, that is a very good price. They operate nationwide, so check them out if you’re in need of a low-cost MRI for your pet.

There can also be local clinics offering low-cost MRIs for dogs. Ask your local vet clinics if they are able to provide lower rates for your pet. There’s no extensive database for these clinics, so it’s best to just ask those in your area.

Many veterinary hospitals offer payment plans to help you afford the cost of an MRI if it is necessary to diagnose your dog’s illness.

What to do if you can’t afford MRI for your dog?

If you can’t afford an MRI for your pet, here are some suggestions:

  1. Work with your veterinarian to reduce the cost of an MRI. He or she may be able to refer you to a less expensive imaging center in your area.
  2. Do some research and see if you can find a less expensive MRI provider in your area. Call local hospitals and universities and ask if they offer this service.
  3. If you are unable to cover the entire cost of the procedure, ask if the clinic will accept a payment plan.
  4. Consider cheaper alternatives like rehabilitation/physical therapy, acupuncture, supplements and chiropractic care.
  5. Ask friends and family members for help. Some people might be able to donate or gift money towards the treatment.
  6. See if there is a veterinary charity or non-profit that can help with the cost of an MRI. There are many organizations that provide financial relief for animals in need of expensive medical care.
  7. Post on social media about your situation. People are often willing to help out, especially if they’re familiar with you and your pet.
  8. There are several crowdfunding websites that allow you to seek donations online. These sites are typically used for people in need of money for medical bills, but pet owners have found success in raising funds for vet bills.
  9. Don’t give up! If you really want your pet to live a full life with minimal pain, don’t give up until you’ve exhausted every possible option.

What does an MRI scan show in dogs?

An MRI is used to take high-quality images of a dog’s internal organs, bones, and other body parts. MRI scans are considered safer than CT scans as they use radio waves and magnetic fields instead of ionizing radiation.

MRI scans are used to detect conditions such as:

  • Tumors
  • Spinal cord issues such as herniated disks
  • Inflammation
  • Nerve damage

MRI scans are considered very carefully as the test can last more than one hour, so the dog must be placed under general anesthesia. If the dog is in good health and there are other less invasive tests then a veterinarian would not order an MRI. Equally, if the dog is suffering from very poor health and surgery is not an option, an MRI scan would not provide any valuable information.

How much does an MRI for dogs cost?

The cost for a dog MRI is between $2000 and $4000 depending on the complexity of the dog’s illness and the images required. This is where pet insurance is necessary, so you are not faced with a sudden bill for vet treatment.

In the US, most medical procedures carry a big price tag. Procedures like MRIs can be particularly expensive because the machines themselves are expensive, and then you add on the price of radiology reports, and the doctor’s time.

For pets, things are often more expensive. This is because pets have smaller bodies, and it can be harder to get good imaging of them. So it’s not unusual to see very high prices for something like an MRI for a dog.

Will pet insurance cover MRI?

Of course, one of the best ways to get a low-cost MRI for your dog is to have good pet insurance. Many people aren’t able to do this, but we’ll talk about it for those who are.

A good insurance means that you either pay nothing for a procedure like this or pay very little. If you want to get pet insurance for your dog, you can check out Trupanion. They are a great service providing insurance to owners of dogs and cats for necessary medical procedures.

Some common insurance companies, like GEICO, also offer pet insurance. If you have a home or medical insurance, consider asking them if they also offer affordable pet insurance.

MRI vs CT scan

There are advantages and drawbacks to both scan methods, so the veterinarian must make a decision based on the dog’s symptoms, their overall health, and how much information each scan might offer.

As mentioned above, MRI scans are considered safer as they do not use potentially harmful radiation. Imaging is done using radio waves and magnetic fields. The drawback to MRI scans is that the dog must be given a general anesthetic due to the length of time the scan takes to complete.

Anesthetizing any animal is much safer now than it used to be, but the worse health an animal is in, the more likely they are to react badly. It is an added risk that some owners are not prepared to take.

CT scans, Computed Tomography scans, provide much better detail as the imaging is done layer by layer. The images can then be stacked to create a 3D image of specific areas. This is ideal for surgeons to calculate the exact position of a tumor to better assist the operation.

Interestingly, most animal CT scans are conducted in hospitals with skilled technicians. This means the dog must be kept at the vets overnight, kept off food and then transported in the morning from the vet clinic to the hospital. CT scans are faster than MRIs, taking roughly 45 minutes for the entire procedure, but the dog still needs to be anesthetized.

CT scans are also less expensive but still carry a significant cost. The average cost of a CT is $1000 but there are other costs to include such as bloodwork, hospitalization and examination.

Finding the best low-cost places for scans can be difficult, but there are companies with online lists of facilities that offer scans. For instance, in the UK there are 32 facilities and they are listed on one website which anyone can access.

In the US, there are several websites such as Animal Scan and Best Price MRI which find nearby facilities and contact details for MRI and CT scans.

Conclusion of MRI for dogs

Although the use of MRI in veterinary medicine is a relatively new procedure, it has already made an invaluable contribution to diagnosing and treating many conditions in dogs.

For example, MRI is considered the most accurate diagnostic tool for determining the extent of a disc herniation. The images can show not only whether a herniated disc is touching a nerve, but also whether it’s compressing it. This information helps your veterinarian determine how to treat your dog’s problem.

MRI can help diagnose a variety of other conditions in dogs, from brain disorders to tumors. In some cases, MRI can reveal problems that would otherwise be invisible on X-rays.

The cost of an MRI scan ranges from $2000 to $4000 or more depending on the health condition of your dog and the facility performing the test. If your dog needs to be sedated or anesthetized for the procedure, you’ll also need to factor in anesthesia costs.

Most pet insurance companies won’t cover MRI or CT scans because they are considered elective diagnostic procedures (versus life-saving procedures). However, some policies may reimburse you for part of the cost based on your plan’s terms and deductible.

If you’ve had an experience with MRI for your dog and would like to share it with our readers, please feel free to leave us a comment below!

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Hannah Elizabeth is an English animal behavior author, having written for several online publications. With a degree in Animal Behaviour and over a decade of practical animal husbandry experience, Hannah's articles cover everything from pet care to wildlife conservation. When she isn't creating content for blog posts, Hannah enjoys long walks with her Rottweiler cross Senna, reading fantasy novels and breeding aquarium shrimp.

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