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The Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) system, in collaboration with the Marion duPont Equine Medical Center, has been functioning since April 1, 2004. Since 2004 nearly 800 horses have been examined, predominantly for foot problems. Magnetic resonance imaging provides images with unmatched tissue contrast and anatomic definition, thus offering numerous diagnostic advantages over other imaging technologies.
MRI displays anatomic and physiologic detail in both bony and soft tissue structures through a series of tomographic slices using magnetic properties of the horse' tissues. MRI can provide a diagnosis when other imaging modalities fail to clearly identify the source of the lameness. This is especially true for soft tissue injuries around joints, in the areas difficult to palpate, or areas that other imaging modalities can not reach. MRI is the only method presently available that can assess all tissues during a single examination.
The equipment at the Marion duPont Equine Medical Center is an open MRI system. The open system allows patients to stand under mild sedation while distal extremities are scanned in a weight-bearing position. Weight bearing images enable our doctors to more precisely pinpoint the patients source of pain. In order to obtain images, a receiving coil is placed closely along the horse's anatomic region of interest and the emitted signal is collected. The patient's leg is positioned within the center of a strong magnetic field generated by the MRI system. To start the scan, imaging sequences are selected and a radiofrequency signals are emitted and received digitally. A typical MR exam yields 300-500 high-detailed images to review.
MRI should be considered when an injury can be localized, but the problem cannot be distinguished by other imaging modalities. For instance, if your horse has been diagnosed with navicular disease, but has been unresponsive to therapy, an MRI may be the best approach in acquiring further diagnostic information. MRI can provide a more concise then radiographs or ultrasound particularly when referring to soft tissue structures that lay underneath the hoof wall. For example, MRI is capable of demonstrating cortical erosions along the flexor surface of the navicular bone, and adhesions to the adjacent deep digital flexor tendon. The use of MRI in equine veterinary medicine allows for a more timely intervention, and an improved prognosis for the long-term outcome of your equine athletes.
MRI has become one of the most important diagnostic tools in equine lameness. For further information concerning specifics of the procedure or in order to make an appointment please contact our front desk.
For appointments call 540-687-4663.
Dr Allen and his associates are wonderful. I told my barrel horse for a second option with his navicular issues. To soon to see if it will work but the knowledge this man has. well worth the trip.
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