Dog MRI Cost: Why Prices Vary and What Can You Do About It?


When your dog is sick, you want to try everything to make them feel better, which also means seeking advanced medical procedures like an MRI. Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) is a powerful diagnostic treatment that helps veterinarians detect various medical conditions. 

The technique uses high-powered magnetic and radio waves to create detailed images of the body, and the entire process can take 45 minutes to two hours. When it comes to dog MRIs, different variables may affect the cost. 

On average, a dog MRI can cost between $2500 to $5000. However, the price is conditioned to vary depending on the size of your dog, the seriousness of the issue, the location of the hospital, and the vet experience. You may have to pay more if your dog needs additional scans. 

Read on as I discuss everything about dog MRI cost, factors that may inflate the ultimate price, and the importance of the test to diagnose canine health issues. Let’s dive in. 

Factors That Affect the Cost of Dog MRI 

Factors That Affect The Cost Of Dog MRI
Image by Static

It’s not news that veterinary care can be expensive, and the price may soar higher, especially for intensive tests like an MRI. Below are some key factors that determine how expensive an MRI test can be. Make sure to take note to go well prepared for your dog’s MRI: 

  • Location 

The location of the vet hospital where the MRI is performed has the biggest impact on MRI cost. It’s apparent that urban vet hospitals charge more than rural hospitals. Hospitals in large metropolitan cities have advanced facilities, experienced vet and nursing teams, and other upgraded facilities that shoot up the final cost. 

Veterinary hospitals in rural areas lack such advanced medical assistance. Regardless of whether it’s a good thing or not, it drops the MRI cost. Therefore, if you’re visiting an urban veterinarian for your dog’s MRI scan, expect to pay more. 

  • Size of the Dogs 

The size of the dog is another determining factor for the MRI cost. The entire process of MRI includes anesthesia, IV fluids, and blood tests. The proportion of these additional aids varies between large and small dogs; hence, the difference in price. 

Besides, a larger dog may need more scan time, which may affect the ultimate cost of the MRI. 

Related: Breaking Down the C-Section for Dog Cost: What to Expect

  • Reason for the MRI Test 

Your dog may need an MRI scan for numerous medical conditions. If the vet suggests an MRI suspecting a tumor, herniated disc, abscess, or cancer, the MRI will be more expensive. 

Usually, preoperative and neurological MRI scans cost more because they require specialized imaging and will go heavy on your pockets. 

  • Veterinary Hospital or Clinic 

The reputation, operating years, type of facility, and experience of the operating staff in a veterinary hospital or clinic are other variables affecting the price of dog MRIs. When a vet team uses more advanced equipment and technology, it hugely impacts the ultimate bill. 

You may find two veterinary hospitals in the same location quoting different prices for the MRI, and the sole reason for this are the factors mentioned above. Even though a budget-friendly hospital is most people’s first pick, it should not come at the cost of your beloved dog. 

Hence, do extensive research before deciding where to perform your dog’s MRI. 

Related: A Vet Explains Preventive Care & Medical Costs for a Dog

Average Cost of a Dog MRI

Average Cost Of A Dog MRI
Image by Researchgate

As we already discussed, the average cost of a dog MRI varies from region to region. But keeping aside those variables, the following is an estimated range of dog MRI prices of a pet MRI test: 

  • Cost of Dog MRI in the United States 

If you live in the United States, you’re well aware of the overpriced healthcare systems. Medical assistance for humans is costly, and it’s even costlier for pets. And a doggy MRI in the States, would cost you between $2,500 and $5000. 

This is the average cost, but if the issue is complex, or your dog needs more anesthesia or has a large breed dog, the price goes up. Therefore, buying pet insurance is crucial because most insurance packages cover imaging tests like MRI and CT scans, saving you from exhausting your financial resources. 

  • Cost of Dog MRI in Other Countries 

The cost of doggy MRI in other countries is comparatively less. After researching the veterinary expenses in different countries, here is what we found about dog MRI prices. 

Related: Dog Mammary Tumor Removal Cost – Detailed Guide

Dog MRI Price in the UK

The average cost of a dog MRI in the United Kingdom is around £2500. Of course, the price will differ if you approach a reputed vet or hospital in a busy city like London. 

If the issue is serious or you ask for an MRI at odd hours, the charges go up to £4000. The price adds up in case of multiple MRIs. 

Dog MRI Price in Asian Countries 

MRI scan cost in Asian countries is significantly lower than in Western countries. For instance, a dog MRI scan in Malaysia costs approximately $500 to $1300; in China, the average cost is $300 to $750. Factors that affect the final price are also applicable in these countries, and this is just the estimated price. 

Dog MRI Price in Australia 

The average dog scan cost in Australia is around AUD 2500. The price is higher for medium- and large dogs and may increase to $5000 AUD. 

Please note these are estimated ranges subject to change based on multiple factors. Make sure to research about the current dog MRI cost in your area to get the most appropriate answer. You can also call the hospital staff to enquire about the price. 

Related: TPLO Surgery for Dog Cost

Can’t Afford MRI for Dogs? Check These Financing Options 

Medical emergencies occur uninvited; therefore, healthcare planning is crucial to avoid breaking your pockets in split seconds. You can opt for the following financing options to strategically cover the MRI expense of your dog. 

Dog MRI Cost with Insurance 

Pet insurance is the ultimate aid to cover unexpected pet medical expenses. And most pet insurances provide coverage for diagnostic tests like MRI and CT scan. However, there are different types of pet insurance, and each comes with its unique terms and conditions. So make sure to consider the following factors while buying pet insurance: 

  1. The type of coverage the insurance is offering. Some policies only provide accident coverage; some provide illness coverage only, while some policies cover both illness and accidents. The last option is the best to get the maximum benefit out of a pet insurance policy. 
  2. Limitations & Exclusions are other factors to consider while choosing pet insurance. Similar to the previous point, policymakers add certain limitations and exclusions such as- age restrictions, pet type, hereditary conditions, etc. So, reviewing these conditions is vital to pick the right policy for your doggy. 

Related: Dog Slipped Disc Surgery Cost – Full Guide

Payment Options 

Insurance policies come with different payment options for the policyholders’ convenience. The most common payment options include the following: 

  1. Monthly premiums: If you sign up for this plan, you have to pay a specific amount monthly. 
  2. Annual premiums: Similar to monthly premiums, you’re liable to pay a specific amount but on an annual basis. 
  3. Deductibles: Deductibles refer to the amount pet parents have to pay before the insurance coverage begins. For example, if you buy an insurance policy with $500 deductible and the ultimate cost of the MRI is $2500, then the pet owner will have to pay $500 from their pocket. 
  4. Reimbursements: This type of insurance policy requires you to pay the treatment amount, and you get the reimbursements only after submitting the medical bills. 
  5. Co-payments: As the name says, in this type of pet policy, you pay a certain percentage of the expense, and the rest is covered by the insurance company.  

As you can see, there are numerous factors that influence insurance policy coverage. Hence, it’s essential for dog owners to read all terms and conditions to ensure the premium rates fit within their budget and they don’t have to pay any unexpected penalties. 

Free MRI Scans for Dogs 

Sometimes veterinary clinics, animal welfare organizations, or philanthropic foundations arrange free medical camps where they provide free MRI scans for dogs. These campaigns are great opportunities to get your dog’s MRI free of cost. 

Such medical camps may have eligibility criteria like proof of income limits, medical certificates that clearly states MRI requirements for dogs, etc. 

Enquire about such free dog health campaigns to get the MRI done for your canine free of cost.

Related: How Much Does It Cost to Get a Dog Neutered? 

Dog MRI Cost: FAQs

Q: Why Are Dog MRI Scans so Expensive? 

A: Dogs don’t remain still as humans; therefore, they need local anesthesia. Moreover, a dog MRI needs more medical assistance with specialized training, which adds to the ultimate cost. 

Q: Are Dogs Sedated for MRI? 

A: Yes, dogs are sedated for MRI to prevent them from moving during the procedure. But MRI is a painless procedure. 

Q: Is MRI Worth It for a Dog? 

A: Yes, an MRI test is worth it for dogs when it comes to diagnosing critical medical conditions. The test uses advanced imaging technology to detect a variety of conditions. 

Related: Dog ACL Surgery Cost and Treatment


A dog is more than just a pet, and a dog owner tries every possible thing to give them the best life they deserve. If your pet is going through undetectable discomfort, an MRI is a powerful diagnostic test to detect many medical conditions. Even though an MRI test is expensive, there isn’t a better diagnostic test than this. 

With proper planning, like investing in good pet insurance, you can finance the MRI cost better without creating a void in your bank account. 


Johann Chapuis

Johann Chapuis has assembled a fantastic team of licensed veterinarians, animal behaviorists, dog trainers, groomers, and walkers to write every article and offer the most accurate content on Being a pet lover and owner himself, Johann is sharing his experiences and his financial aptitude cultivated during his MBA with a specialization in finance and the numerous years he spent working as a business manager and entrepreneur.

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