No need to apologise. This is a myth that does not seems to die and is sometimes propagated by even the medical profession. I will give you the reasons why this is actually improbable. PL. this is my field of expertise.I apologise.
I find it interesting two "pop culture" doctors have gone on the record with this as being factual (Dr Mike on YouTube a few weeks ago and Dr Now on My 600 Pound Life.) I was woefully misinformed and frankly kind of pissed because Dr Now especially seems like the kind of no nonsense doctor who you can trust.
Except for MRI for horses that are specifically designed to be used on standing horses, mostly to evaluate the legs. Most, if not all CT and MRI equipment is designed to be used in humans. There are regional variations on all imaging equipment. An example is imaging equipment from Shimadzu that are designed specifically for the Asian market whereas the table is lower to the ground to suit Asian with shorter stature.
So, the equipment that is used in veterinary clinics and zoos is not any different than the equipment uses in hospitals. So, why going to a vet clinic to use equipment that already exists in hospitals? The inverse is actually true. Some hospitals or clinics will sell equipment time (mostly in the middle of the night) to vet clinics and zoos to image their animals. It is a lot cheaper than purchasing the equipment.
Second: Approval to use
In the U.S., before being able to sell a piece of medical equipment, you must obtain Premarket Approval (PMA) or a 510(k). PMA is required to prove that the device is safe and effective on humans. PMA may require clinical trials may be required for the procedures being proposed. When you hear “off label use”, it means that the safety and efficacy of the device were not determined for the procedure being used. 510(k) is a premarket submission that the device is safe and effective and is substantially similar to an already legally marketed device. So, for a new model of an existing CT or MRI, the manufacturer typically would request a 510(k) clearance. For something new, they would go the PMA route.
A large-bore CT or MRI may not be approved for 510(k) clearance but instead require the manufacturer to go through PMA, which is bloody expensive. The manufacturer would have done the market research to determine if it is even worthwhile.
For veterinary CT and MRI, there is no requirement for premarket approval but must meet applicable requirements for radiation-emitting devices. So, any devices strictly sold for veterinary purpose does not need to show safety and effectiveness on humans.
The other issue is with the software used on the equipment. Most equipment is bought with software to optimise the type of procedures being done. Some procedures require a specific sequence, for example, a chest CT might require a scout scan first (like a chess film) to set some of the parameters then the CT procedure. Those software packages are not cheap and sometimes require specific training to use them. Same this with MRIs. There is also the use of contrast agents. For MRI, Gadolinium is used as a contrast agent and I do not know if the formulation is the same for veterinary medicine. It is not certain that the equipment would be set-up to image properly a human (mostly fat) instead of animals (mostly muscle and bone).
Unlike most tv shows where a doctor is doing orthopedic surgery one week then neurology the following week, most medical professionals stay on their lane. Dr. Nowzaradan is a surgeon, a very good one from what we can see, but he is not a radiologist. For him to do it, he would have to do a residence in radiology for about 3-5 years. So, in practice, when evaluating a patient, he would requisition a CT, chest, MRI and might add “with contrast”, for the indication he is looking for. He will never write: “need patient Amber Reid with D.O.B. xx/xx/xxxx to be sent to Billybob vet clinic for an MRI”. THIS WILL NEVER HAPPEN.
Sometimes, the imaging department would contact to referring physician to discuss the requisition especially if there are imaging issues or if the test will not provide the information requested. The imaging department will not decide after finding out that she does not fit the machine to send her to a vet clinic. THIS WILL ALSO NEVER HAPPEN.
The use of a non-approved medical device on a patient is strictly prohibited. This may lead to losing your licence to practice (radiologist, radiographer), and a huge liability for the vet clinic (practicing medicine without a licence), and the hospital (gross negligence).
Why did Amber not get imaged? 3 possible reasons.
1. She did not fit the equipment. (most likely)
2. She cannot lie flat on her back and still for 45-60 minutes. (another possibility)
3. She is too heavy for the table. (again, another possibility)
With Amber, we are never sure if she tells the truth.