Our MRI scanner is located at our Blueberry Farm Hospital . The facility was installed by Hallmarq Veterinary Imaging ( ww.hallmarq.net) in 2016 and allows imaging of the lower limb in the standing, sedated horse. There are fewer than 20 standing equine MRI scanners in the whole of the UK so we are very excited to be able to offer this fantastic addition to our diagnostic facilities.
MRI (Magnetic Resonance Imaging) uses a strong magnetic field and radio waves to obtain high quality three-dimensional images with excellent detail of both bone and soft tissue structures.
MRI is most frequently used in cases where lameness has been localised to a particular area of the limb using nerve blocks, but other imaging modalities (such as X-ray and ultrasound) are unable to confirm the diagnosis. MRI is particularly useful for imaging the soft tissue structures within the foot, as ultrasound cannot penetrate the hoof capsule, and for imaging the proximal suspensory ligaments in certain cases.
We remove the horse’s shoes prior to performing an MRI. This is for two reasons; firstly any metallic objects distort the image and secondly steel shoes could become stuck to the magnet! If we are scanning the feet we usually take one X-ray of each foot first to check that no tiny pieces of clench remain within the hoof. We also usually insert a temporary intravenous catheter into the horse’s jugular vein. This allows us to administer sedation as a slow constant rate infusion into the vein, maintaining a steady state of sedation and avoiding repeated intravenous injections. The whole procedure typically takes one to two hours depending on the area(s) being imaged and the individual circumstances.
Our staff at Blueberry Farm have been specially trained in the acquisition of high quality diagnostic images. The images are then sent to Dr Meredith Smith MA Vet MB PhD Cert ES Dip ECVS AECVDI MRCVS for interpretation. Meredith is highly skilled and experienced in the interpretation of magnetic resonance images and reports on the images within 72 hours.