Diagnostic Imaging Center

Newly upgraded MRI imaging capabilities are here!
Now offering astonishingly vivid MRI imagery for the ultimate in diagnostics

What is an MRI?

What is an MRI?

  • MRI is a diagnostic imaging modality that uses a magnetic field and pulses of radio wave energy to make pictures of organs and structures inside the body. In many cases, MRI gives different information about structures in the body than cannot be seen with an X-ray, ultrasound, or computed tomography (CT) scan.
  • Nowadays, MRI is the preferred modality for imaging of soft tissue pathology (disease).

What can be scanned in the horse with our MRI?

  • Distal Limbs (legs)
    • up to the level of the distal radius including the carpus (knee)
    • and the distal tibia including the tarsus (hocks)

  • Remember most of the lameness in the horse is usually localized to their feet!!!

  • Most Common Indication:
    • Lameness localized to a specific region (e.g. foot, fetlock, suspensory ligament, and other regions)
    • Where diagnosis cannot be made from X-rays, ultrasound, bone scan or CT scans.

  • Advantages
    • Superior soft tissue contrast
    • Superior cartilage detail
    • Superior anatomical definition
    • Superior assessment of bone activity
    • Better Diagnosis: (90%) of the time a specific diagnosis can be made
      • Leading to better treatments options and decreased convalescence times
      • And an overall significant reduction in total cost of treatment(s)

Below a figure depicting a front foot MRI labelled with its anatomic structures on sagittal plane.

MRI Imaging sample below depicting a deep flexor tendon tear at the level of the pastern (green arrows) on a front foot (transverse and sagittal planes respectively).

Standing Robotic Computed Tomography

“Robotic CT”

Computed Tomography (CT) has become an important tool in diagnostic medical imaging since the 1970’s. More recently CT has been used for preventative medicine and screening for a variety of diseases in humans. In Veterinary Medicine, CT is commonly used to image the head & brain, lungs, spine, abdominal & pelvic areas, and extremities. Additionally, contrast can be used in a variety of imaging studies as well.

CT imaging is very important tool in diagnosing and planning fracture repair in horses because of the multiplanar reconstruction (MPR) views and the 3 dimensional reconstruction (3D Recon) capabilities.

In the recent past, especially for horses, CT imaging had to be performed under general anesthesia. And since limb fractures in horses are fairly common, recovery from general anesthesia could worsen and even cause catastrophic injury to the affected limb during recovery.

The Robotic CT at the Western Veterinary Hospital is designed to perform CT scans with the horse sedated in the standing position (no general anesthesia). Once the horse is properly positioned the CT scan only takes 30 seconds and it generates about 15 frames per second!!! It means >450 images in 30 seconds, with multiplanar (sagittal, dorsal and transverse) views and 3D Recon images with soft tissue subtraction and manipulation capabilities that are amazing. See video below.

This technology is advancing as we speak!!! In the near future we may be able to scan horses while they move on a treadmill and evaluate their joints in motion.

What Can Be scanned with our Robotic CT?

  • Equine Head
    • Bone in general, especially when radiographs are non-diagnostic
    • Dental disease (e.g. specific diagnosing diseased tooth for extraction)  
    • Nasal passages, sinuses, orbit
    • Brain
    • Cervical spine (proximal)
    • Hyoid apparatus (THO & TMJ)
    • Tumors
  • Equine distal limb (including the carpus & tarsus)
    • Bone in general, especially when radiographs are non-diagnostic
    • Stress fractures, non-displaced fractures (hair line fractures)
    • Multiple forms of Osteochondrosis
    • Navicular Bone Disease Syndrome
    • Osteoarthritis
    • Fracture diagnosis & repair planning (MPR and 3D Recon)
    • Fracture healing comparison without general anesthesia
    • Chronic Laminitis
      • including venograms with 3D Reconstruction for more accurate prognosis (see video below)

  • Small Animals
    • Head
    • Spine
    • Thorax
    • Abdomen
    • Bone disease & fractures
    • Tumors
    • Contrast Studies

Below a 3D Recon video depicting a dog with a femoral and pelvic fracture

Please call the Western Veterinary Hospital at (325) 703-6450 or check our website: to see how the Robotic CT scan is performed in its entirety.

Best regards,
Gary D. Hodges, DVM, CEO
Al Bueno, MV, MS, DACVS


We look forward to hearing from you

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