Hallmarq champions ear protection for canine MRI

Hallmarq Veterinary Imaging – companion animal MRI manufacturer – is reminding vets that ear plugs should be used for veterinary patients after new research has suggested this is best practice when using MRI. Hallmarq’s PetVet MRI scanner is the only veterinary specific MRI designed for small animals.

It’s widely recognised that magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) produces a high level of acoustic noise with ear plugs routinely advocated for humans undergoing an MRI scan.1Hallmarq Veterinary Imaging is now calling for similar standards of care to be extended to all canine patients in light of recent research.

While it has long been established to be a safe procedure, anyone who has had exposure to an MRI scan will know that it’s not a quiet affair. Recent studies have highlighted that providing ear protection for canine patients undergoing MRI can help to maximise the experience for the patient, optimise their recovery and ensure the best results for the clinician.2,3,4 

Nick Bolas, Director at Hallmarq, is delighted that there is some 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.  We would encourage vets to do everything in their power to maximise their patients’ comfort and well-being. Providing ear protection is something that we have advocated for some time at Hallmarq, 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. Noise-induced stress symptoms in animals include an elevated heart rate, increased blood pressure and altered metabolic rateswhich could affect the animal’s recovery as well as test results.2Providing properly fitting ear protection in the form of plugs or ear muffs can reduce the noise exposure during MRI scanning, which the results of the studies suggest should be advocated for all animal MRI sessions.2

Karen L. Johnston, Business Development Director for Companion Animals at Hallmarq, says that providing ear protection is just one of a number of changes that can help vets improve their MRI procedures, “At Hallmarq we believe that veterinary patients deserve the same standards as humans, which was the sentiment applied to the development of our PetVet MRI scanner. Because PetVet is tailored specifically for the optimal comfort and positioning of small animal patients, it incorporates features such as a controlled patient environment and specially designed veterinary bed system. This makes for great images and a smooth scan. Provision of ear protection is another small change which could be a huge step towards upping standards and should really become common practice for all veterinary patients.”

For more information about Hallmarq Veterinary Imaging or the PetVet MRI, please visit http://www.hallmarq.net/


  1. Radomskij, P., Schmidt, M. A., Heron, C. W., & Prasher, D. (2002). Effect of MRI noise on cochlear function. The Lancet, 359(9316), 1485-1486.
  2. Lauer, A.M., El-Sharkawy, A.M., Kraitchman, D.L., Edelstein, W.A., (2012). MRI acoustic noise can harm experimental and companion animals. J. Magn Reson. Imaging 36, 743-747.
  3. Venn, R. E. (2013). Effects of acute and chronic noise exposure on cochlear function and hearing in dogs (Doctoral dissertation, University of Glasgow). http://theses.gla.ac.uk/4722/1/2013VennMSc.pdf
  4. N. Taylor (2013) Assessing hearing loss in dogs using a modified behavioural distraction test. (Doctoral dissertation, at the Cranfield University) Unpublished. 


About Us

Hallmarq Veterinary Imaging is the pioneer of species-specific MRI diagnostics, being the sole global manufacturer of MRI systems specifically designed for companion animals and horses. The Hallmarq team has decades of experience in the design and manufacture of global clinical, research and industrial MRI systems for a range of applications. The company initially revolutionized the diagnosis of equine lameness with the development of the only standing MRI for horses before applying its expertise to small animal diagnostics. Established in 2001, Hallmarq's mission is to improve the safety, accuracy and cost-effectiveness of MRIs, making them affordable and profitable to veterinary clinics worldwide. www.hallmarq.net