MRI is an advanced imaging tool that allows detailed pictures of the brain and spinal cord. It is typically used in patients with neurological symptoms.

All MRI scans are performed under general anaesthesia.

We are lucky enough to have access to two types of MRI: high field and low field.

High field MRI provides exceptionally detailed images, however cats must be transported to an external facility at the University of Queensland. Only patients that have a low anaesthesia risk can be examined at this location.

Low field MRI provides good detailed images, however they are not as clear as the high field MRI. The benefit of low field MRI is that it is onsite at our Underwood hospital and patients that have a higher risk of anaesthesia (e.g. those cats with obvious neurological signs) can have very close monitoring. We will discuss the pros and cons of each option with you.

This MRI scan shows a cat with a mass in their brain.

All MRI studies performed are submitted electronically to specialist radiologists for a report. These reports are received within 1-10 working days.

Our feline clinicians also give an initial report on the day of the procedure.


What is an MRI?

A magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scan takes detailed pictures of the inside of the body. It can identify problems in the soft tissues such as the brain that cannot be examined by x-rays or ultrasound.

What happens when my cat has an MRI?

  • When your cat has an MRI they must be under anaesthesia. This is not because the procedure is painful, but they must lie very still on a table that slides through a tunnel in the middle of the MRI scanner and it is also noisy.
  • The scanner uses strong magnetic fields and radio waves to generate signals from the body. These are picked up by a radio antenna and processed by a computer to create detailed pictures.
  • The benefits of an MRI are that it produces very detailed pictures, does not use x-ray radiation and is painless. 
  • Multiple different scans are performed by the machine to give different information about the tissues and once completed our feline veterinarians will contact you to discuss the results and any further testing (e.g. spinal fluid analysis) that might be required. 
  • All our scans are also sent to specialists in diagnostic imaging for a detailed report which arrives within 12-72 hours.
  • Depending on how unwell your cat is, they can potentially go home 1-2 hours after the scans are completed and they have recovered from their anaesthesia

What is an MRI used for?

Our feline team may recommend an MRI to examine the;

  • brain and spinal cord
  • bones and joints

Is an MRI safe for my cat?

An MRI is a very safe procedure however it must be performed under anaesthesia and some patients, particularly those with severe neurological signs can be very challenging to keep stable under anaesthesia. We have highly skilled nurses and specialist anaesthestists available to make sure the procedure is as safe as possible.

How long does an MRI take?

An MRI scan can last as long as 2 hours or more.

When will I get my cats results?

Our feline team will give you their report as soon as the scan is finished. We also send our MRI's to a specialist diagnostic imaging team and these detailed reports take 12-72 hours.

Cats require an anaesthetic to have an MRI scan performed.

This MRI shows a cat with a brain abscess.

Cat Medical Monitoring Suites

We will monitor your cat after their MRI scan and anaesthetic until we are sure they are recovered enough to go home. 


Address 1-15 Lexington Rd,
Underwood, QLD, AU, 4119

PhonePh: 1300 228 377

Hours Monday-Friday: 8 am-6 pm
Saturday/Sunday - Closed

Veterinary Specialist Services