Veterinarians at the Hospital for Large Animals at the Cummings Veterinary Medical Center at Tufts have the ability to look for causes of lameness, brain damage and other conditions within horses by using the first and only equine-capable high-strength magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) technology in New England.
The equipment is instrumental in diagnosing a variety of equine musculoskeletal conditions—many of which cannot be detected using other forms of diagnostic imaging. MRI uses strong magnetic fields and radio-frequency pulses to produce images with superior bone and soft tissue detail. It is used to diagnose problems in many different structures in the horse, including soft tissue lesions that cause lameness, brain lesions that may cause seizures and small tendon tears within the horse's hoof.
The MRI unit at the the Cummings Veterinary Medical Center is a Siemens 1.5 Tesla instrument similar to those used in human applications. Horses must be anesthetized and placed on a non-magnetic table that has been specially designed and built for the Hospital for Large Animals' equine patients. The entire procedure takes approximately two hours. Clinicians, radiologists, anesthesiologists and other staff collaborate as a team to obtain the MRI images and work to determine a diagnosis. The Hospital for Large Animals' high-strength MRI capability is unique in New England.
MRI should be part of a full diagnostic workup in conjunction with clients' primary veterinarians.