Vets are being urged to always use earplugs for dogs undergoing magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scans to maximise their patients’ comfort and well-being.

MRI scans produce a high level of acoustic noise, with earplugs routinely advocated for human patients.

Now, Hallmarq Veterinary Imaging, whose PetVet MRI scanner is the only veterinary specific MRI designed for small animals, is calling for similar standards of care to be extended to dogs, in light of recent research.

Recent studies have highlighted providing ear protection for canine patients undergoing MRI can ease the experience for the animal, optimise its recovery and ensure the best results for the clinician1-3.

Hallmarq director Nick Bolas said he was delighted there was now research to back up one of the company’s long-held beliefs.

“Given the similarity of human and canine auditory physiology, it makes sense that dogs would benefit from ear protection as much as humans,” he said.

“We would encourage vets to do everything in their power to maximise their patients’ comfort and well-being. Providing ear protection is something we have advocated for some time and many of our customers are already doing so. It’s great to see more support for the idea as standard procedure.”

Excessive noise levels can result in noise-induced stress, inner ear discomfort and potentially affect the hearing of dogs. Symptoms in animals include an elevated heart rate, increased blood pressure and altered metabolic rates, which could affect the animal’s recovery as well as test results.

Providing properly fitting ear protection in the form of plugs or earmuffs can reduce the noise exposure during MRI scanning, which the results of the studies suggest should be advocated for all animal MRI sessions2.

  • For more information about Hallmarq Veterinary Imaging or the PetVet MRI, visit


  1. Lauer A M, El-Sharkawy A M, Kraitchman D L and Edelstein W A (2012). MRI acoustic noise can harm experimental and companion animals, J Magn Reson Imaging 36(3): 743-747.
  2. Venn R E (2013). Effects of Acute and Chronic Noise Exposure on Cochlear Function and Hearing in Dogs, doctoral dissertation, University of Glasgow,
  3. Taylor N (2013). Assessing Hearing Loss in Dogs using a Modified Behavioural Distraction Test, doctoral dissertation, Cranfield University (unpublished).
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