New Horse CT Scanner Can Get an Internal Look without Putting the Horse Under

Posted by Stacey Venzel
All images from University of Pennsylvania

"Equimagine"is a revolutionary medical technology that allows horses to stand while getting a CT scan.

Dogs and cats fit nicely inside a human-sized CT scanner, but an animal that weighs up to a ton is, you might say, a horse of a different color.

Thanks to a joint project between the University of Pennsylvania School of Veterinary Medicine and 4DDI, a human imaging company, horses can now stand tall while a machine gets an inside look at their anatomy.

CT scans are useful not only in diagnosing injuries but also for catching their onset. Moreover, veterinarians are hoping to use the technology to nip racehorse stress fractures in the bud.

4D_NBC_inline7Barbara Dallap Schaer, medical director at Penn Vet's New Bolton Center for farm animal veterinary care, is excited about what this machine means for science and the future of horse health. She said:

"The reason this is so revolutionary is that the robots can easily move around the horse in any orientation. We can do the imaging in a patient that is standing and awake. From a clinical standpoint, we will see elements of the horse's anatomy that we've never seen before."

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The invention has implications in human medicine, too. While animals are difficult to squish inside a tube and make sit still without sedation, children are even trickier. Because equines do not need to be sedated for the "Equimagine" machine, children wouldn't either.

The entire scan can take as little as thirty seconds, an incredible time leap from the lengthy CT scanning process to which humans are accustomed. "Equimagine" snaps both 2D and 3D images and radiographs. The "robot" sensor can catch up to 16,000 frames per second, even those in motion, which poses a bright outlook for sports medicine.

In the future, UPenn hopes to utilize the scanning device to catch equines in action, hooked up to a treadmill. They're used to dreaming big, so why not keep doing so?

Check out the "Equimagine" robot scanner being practice on a horse patient at UPenn's website.

All images from University of Pennsylvania.

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New Horse CT Scanner Can Get an Internal Look without Putting the Horse Under