This study constructs a rat brain T2-weighted magnetic resonance imaging template including olfactory bulb and a compatible digital atlas. The atlas contains 624 carefully delineated brain structures based on the newest (2005) edition of rat brain atlas by Paxinos and Watson. An automated procedure, as an SPM toolbox, was introduced for spatially normalizing individual rat brains, conducting statistical analysis and visually localizing the results in the Atlas coordinate space. The brain template/atlas and the procedure were evaluated using functional images between rats with the right side middle cerebral artery occlusion (MCAO) and normal controls. The result shows that the brain region with significant signal decline in the MCAO rats was consistent with the occlusion position. Hum Brain Mapp, 2013. © 2012 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.