The Mid-Atlantic Equine Medical Center is pleased to announce the arrival of computed tomography (CT, or "cat scan") to our advanced diagnostic imaging arsenal. Mid-Atlantic is proud to be on the forefront of this technology, having acquired the most updated version of the EQUIMAGINE robotics-controlled imaging system. In doing so, Mid-Atlantic becomes the first privately owned equine hospital in the world to be offering this service to its clientele. The system will allow for detailed imaging of the skull, neck and distal limbs without the need to anesthetize the horse. In addition to CT, the system is also capable of performing other modalities such as fluoroscopy, tomosynthesis, and digital radiography.
CT technology utilizes very small x-ray beams from many different angles around the region of interest (called a slice) that are transmitted to a computer program, which then produces a compilation image of the highest quality. Images can be manipulated to render 3-dimensional reconstructions from 2-dimensional slices, producing not only exceptional images, but opening up whole new areas of diagnosis and treatment. The CT unit in use at the Mid-Atlantic Equine Medical Center is able to accommodate very large body parts relative to the majority of CT units available for medical or veterinary use.
Implementation of this technology will allow the doctors at Mid-Atlantic the unique opportunity to image anatomical regions in the standing horse such as the entire cervical region (neck). Such studies have previously been limited to radiographic interpretation. Few hospitals in the world currently have the ability to perform equine CT myelography, and Mid-Atlantic is proud to join this elite group.
With the more recent focus on equine safety and injury prevention, owners, riders and trainers want to know if they can safely compete the horses under their care. The imaging team at Mid-Atlantic has spent the past 2 months working on perfecting the image acquisition and quality, with the results being exceptional images obtained in a matter of minutes.
In spite of its diagnostic utility, CT imaging has not yet gained mainstream acceptance in equine racing and sporting arenas primarily due to the need for general anesthesia. This system eliminates the risk, time and cost of anesthesia. Images of exquisite detail can be acquired with the horse under light sedation, and more importantly in a weight bearing position, allowing us to diagnose injuries not visible on plain radiographs. In addition to its diagnostic capabilities, CT is tremendously useful in guiding complex fracture repair. More accurate reconstruction, especially at the articular surface, translates to higher success rates and better outcomes for horses.