The use of conventional radiography has been fundamental in equine diagnostic imaging. At Pioneer Equine Hospital we are equipped with a Eureka MC150 wall-mounted x-ray machine in our radiology suite as well as three portable radiography units to utilize in the hospital or in the field. The radiographic potential of our equipment allow us to image everything from distal limb radiographs of a pre-purchase exam to abdominal radiographs in our colic patients in an efficient manner.
Our Fuji Computerized Radiography (CR) system uses very similar equipment to conventional radiography except that in place of a film to create the image, an imaging plate is used. The imaging plate is placed under the object to be examined and the x-ray exposure is made. Hence, instead of taking an exposed film into a darkroom for developing in chemical tanks or an automatic film processor, the imaging plate is run through a special laser scanner to read and digitize the image. Our SmartCR, an automatic film processor, develops and digitizes the image within minutes, allowing our veterinarians to make a diagnosis in minutes.
The difference in Digital Radiography (DR) is that after exposure our Eklin Mark III Rapid StudyTM DR system will almost instantly capture a high quality digital image on the display in front of the radiographer, therefore removing any need for processing. This unprecedented level of detail and versatility provide efficiency for our radiology team and an enhanced diagnositic tool for our patients and veterinarians.
MAGNETIC RESONANCE IMAGING (MRI)
Developed in 1978 and expanded in the 1990s, MRI has been the gold standard in human medicine for diagnostic imaging of orthopedic, brain and soft tissue injuries. MRI utilizes a strong magnetic field (30,000 times as strong as the Earthís magnetic field) to orient the atoms of the body. By changing this field temporarily, these atoms react and emit radio waves which are detected and interpreted by a computer to create the image. No radiation is used and there are no known side-effects to the use of MRI at this field strength in the horse. MRI technology expands veterinary understanding of many lower limb and hoof pathologies by giving us an in-depth view of structures that X-ray and ultrasound canít image. The diagnoses that we are now able to make using MRI can have a significant impact on the end result for many horses.
Our high field system allows us to acquire images in the anesthetized patient from the foot to the knee/hock, including suspicious soft tissue injuries in the pastern, fetlock, cannon, and proximal suspensory ligament areas. We gather images in multiple planes allowing the radiologist to precisely locate the cause of the problem. MRI is an exciting technology as it allows us to diagnose lameness causing injuries that show few or no abnormalities with other imaging techniques like radiographs or ultrasound.