We work closely with a number of referral centers in the region for conditions that require further advanced diagnostics as listed below:
MRI scanning has greatly improved our understanding of particular disorders in cases of lameness localised to the foot. Images are obtained using a strong magnetic field and radiowaves to reveal detailed scans of the associated soft tissue structures and bones in that region. Images can be taken all the way up the carpus (knee) in the forelimb and the tarsus (hock) in the hindlimb. This imaging modality is usually recommended when a diagnosis is not evident on radiographs (x-ray), ultrasound or is difficult to image (such as the foot).
CT scans are obtained using a specialised X-ray machine with multiple tube heads which revolve around the area of interest. This creates a set of images or slices of the area in cross section. This imaging modality is particularly useful for conditions of the skull, nasal passages, sinuses, teeth and neck. The level of detail obtained enables extremely accurate diagnosis of conditions associated with any of these structures and for surgical planning. Images are obtained with the horse standing (sedated).
Scintigraphy (Bone Scan)
Bone scans are obtained using a radio-labelled isotope called technetium 99. This is injected into the horse a couple of hours before the scan takes place. The technetium is readily absorbed by bone, which is then picked up by the gamma camera producing a set of pictures of the skeletal system. Areas of increased bone metabolism/remodelling are picked up on the images as darker spots (hot spots) indicating the areas which may be the cause of lameness/pain. This technique is particularly useful to produce images of the neck, back and pelvis. It is also highly sensitive for the detection of early stress fractures which may not be evident on x-ray/difficult to image areas.