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Author Notes:

Correspondence: Gregory S. Berns: gregory.berns@emory.edu

GB and MS developed training and imaging protocols.

SN reviewed scans and refined imaging protocols.

NN oversaw the treatment of the patient with nasal carcinoma.

GB wrote the manuscript, and all authors edited it.

Thank you to all of the owners who trained their dogs over the course of the project.

Conflict of interest statement: GB and MS own equity in Dog Star Technologies and developed technology used in some of the research described in this paper. The terms of this arrangement have been reviewed and approved by Emory University in accordance with its conflict of interest policies.

MS is the owner of Comprehensive Pet Therapy (CPT) but no CPT technology or IP was used in this research.

The remaining authors declare that the research was conducted in the absence of any commercial or financial relationships that could be construed as a potential conflict of interest.


Research Funding:

This work was supported by the Office of Naval Research (N00014-16-1-2276). ONR provided support in the form of salaries for authors [MS and GB], scan time, and volunteer payment, but did not have any additional role in the study design, data collection and analysis, decision to publish, or preparation of the manuscript.


  • MRI
  • dog
  • brain tumor
  • nasal carcinoma
  • fMRI
  • epilepsy

Clinical Findings in Dogs Trained for Awake-MRI


Journal Title:

Frontiers in Veterinary Science


Volume 5, Number 209


Type of Work:

Article | Final Publisher PDF


Training dogs for awake-MRI began in 2012 for the study of canine cognition. Although originally envisioned as a research technique to understand the neural mechanisms of canine cognitive function, its potential as a new diagnostic clinical tool has become apparent. A high-quality structural scan of the brain can be acquired without sedation or anesthesia in as little as 30 s in a well-trained dog. This has opened the possibility of longitudinal imaging of CNS disease with MRI both as a means of monitoring treatment and potentially as a surveillance tool for inflammatory and neoplastic brain diseases in high-risk breeds. This same training can be used to image other body regions, such as the abdomen, enabling clinicians to screen for abdominal disease using cross sectional imaging without the need for anesthesia and without exposing the patient to ionizing radiation. We present four examples of dogs trained for awake-MRI who developed: (1) nasal carcinoma; (2) brain tumor; (3) abdominal lipoma; (4) idiopathic epilepsy.

Copyright information:

© 2018 Berns, Spivak, Nemanic and Northrup.

This is an Open Access work distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/).
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