Q: Is it better to send my pet to Corvallis, Portland, or UC Davis for an MRI?  
A: No, the quality of radiology services that we provide here in the Rogue Valley is world-class. Dr. Sage has issued reports for over 15,000 MRI studies in her career, and has personally performed more than 500 MRI procedures in Southern Oregon in the past 9 years. With academic credentials in MRI physics and extensive hands-on experience in the field, Dr. Sage is one of the most experienced veterinary MRI-specialized radiologists in practice today.

Q: Why does my animal need an MRI?
A: Unlike people, your animal can't tell us where it hurts.  If common diagnostic procedures have failed to provide an answer, your pet may need an MRI. Knowing the cause of your pet's ailment can help you decide what to do next. Many of our patients have gone on to successful surgery and have resumed an active life. In some cases, nothing further can be done to help the animal, but the owner has peace of mind that everything reasonable has been done. Here are some common themes we see in patients coming to us for an MRI:

     1. Unusual changes in behavior such as circling, persistent head tilt, or depression
     2. Seizures
     3. Unsteady gait
     4. Foot dragging
     5. Back pain  
     6. Lameness of shoulder or knee
     7. Chronic nasal discharge
     8. Oral tumors
     9. Cancer surgery planning to define the margins of a tumor
     10. Pre-surgical check for metastatic disease

Q: How much does an MRI cost?
A: We typically charge $1,700, with some additional charges on very rare occasions. We accept payment by cash, credit card, or paypal, and we will work with insurance providers such as Trupanion directly. At this time we do not accept Care Credit but we may be able to work with your veterinarian if they are willing to pay us on your behalf and then submit a charge to Care Credit from their office.

Q: CT scans are less expensive.  Should we do that instead?
A: CT and MRI are used for two very different purposes. CT is better for imaging bone structures, while MRI is superior for evaluating brain or spinal abnormalities, cancer staging, soft tissue imaging of muscle, and locating the cause of certain orthopedic disease.

Q: Is MRI Safe for my pet?
A: MRI scanners have been safely used in animals and people for years. MRI uses strong magnetic fields to form images. Magnetic fields can interrupt function of pacemakers but is otherwise harmless.  

Q: Why is it necessary to use anesthesia?
A: Anesthesia is usually necessary for CT and MR imaging procedures, as the patient must stay perfectly still for several minutes to acquire a good quality scan. The risks of anesthesia are generally low but vary with the age and individual medical state of the patient. We minimize anesthesia risks by choosing the safest methods possible and providing state of the art anesthesia and monitoring equipment monitored by experienced personnel.

Q: Do you offer payment plans or work with pet insurance?
A: We do work with some insurance plans such as Trupanion, but we require a cash or credit card payment for the full amount, prior to beginning the MRI.

Q: What is a board-certified radiologist?
A: We are specialists in radiology, ultrasonography, CT/MRI, nuclear medicine, and radiation oncology for both small and large Animals.  Clients routinely deal with specialists in human healthcare and are familiar with the concept of specialization and the consultation process. Owners appreciate consultations and/or referrals for specialized imaging, image interpretation or radiation therapy procedures. See Types of Imaging & Therapy for more information about these types of procedures. Many ACVR Radiologists and Radiation Oncologists in private practice work at "referral-only" animal hospitals. Such practices require that the primary care veterinarian contact the radiologist or radiation oncologist. In this way, the radiologist or radiation oncologist can be properly informed as to the patient's history and the scope of the current problem." (ACVR.org)

A more detailed description can be found on the American College of Veterinary Radiology's website.