Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI)
Donnington Grove Veterinary Surgery is set to do its 1000th MRI examination later this year
We have a Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) suite at the clinic. This is a new technique in equine diagnostic imaging and is available in only a handful of clinics in the UK. Unlike radiography (x-rays) or ultrasound, which give information on either bone or soft tissue, MRI provides excellent images of both bone and soft tissue structures simultaneously. This is particularly useful in the horses foot where current imaging techniques limit an accurate diagnosis. A recent study showed that MRI provided a definitive diagnosis in approximately 70% of foot lameness for which a diagnosis could not be made using conventional techniques.
We use MRI in place of radiography for horses with foot lameness to differentiate the many conditions which have previously been bundled together as navicular disease. Such conditions include collateral ligament desmitis, impar ligament disease, primary navicular bone disease, pedal bone oedema or tears of the deep digital flexor tendon. A specific diagnosis will allow us to advise on the best possible treatment and expected prognosis. We also use MRI for more accurate diagnosis of racehorse injuries involving the carpal sheath, suspensory ligament, fetlock joint, and lower limb fractures. This provides earlier diagnosis of certain conditions, superior image quality allowing more specific diagnosis in areas of previous confusion, and more information on the prognosis or likely outcome of the injury.
Your horse will need to have either both front or hind shoes removed for the MRI - we can do this for you, or you can arrange for a farrier to do it prior to the scan.
Your horse may require standing sedation to stay still enough for the time taken to scan.