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Optimal anesthetic for MRI in testing vision in dogs
Functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) is a recent advance in neuroimaging that provides a picture of brain activity with excellent spatial resolution. Current methods used to evaluate canine vision are poorly standardized and vulnerable to bias. But how much does the anesthesia protocol influence the results?

Functional MRI may represent a valuable method of testing vision in dogs if the impacts of anesthesia on fMRI are understood.

Six dogs were scanned during visual stimulation, each under three different anesthetic protocols (isoflurane, propofol, fentanyl/midazolam) to address the questions:
(1) Can visually evoked fMR signals be reliably recorded in anesthetized dogs? and (2) Which anesthetic agent permits the least suppression of visually induced fMR signal in dogs?

This study confirms that visual stimuli reliably elicit neural activity and fMR signal change in anesthetized dogs.

No significant differences in images acquired under the three anesthetics were found, and there was no significant relationship between anesthetic dose and brain activity, within the range of doses used in this study.

Images obtained during isoflurane anesthesia were more consistent between dogs than those obtained with the other two agents. This reduced variation may reflect the fact that inhalant anesthesia is more easily controlled than intravenous anesthesia under conditions associated with high field fMRI.



Source: Willis, Craig K. R., Quinn, Richard P., McDonell, Wayne M., Gati, Joseph, Parent, Joane & Nicolle, David (2001): Functional MRI as a tool to assess vision in dogs: the optimal anesthetic. In: Veterinary Ophthalmology 4 (4), 243-253.




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