CT for Imaging Neck Lesions: Not Just for Small Horses

A custom-designed equine CT table and a commercial Big Bore scanner make it possible to image neck lesions in horses.

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Pinpointing the underlying cause of subtle neurologic signs, abnormal head positions, and obscure lamenesses frequently requires the use of advanced imaging techniques. One such procedure is myelography, which involves injecting a dye into the cerebrospinal fluid within the spinal cord and performing radiography (X rays) to identify cord lesions that might explain the horse’s clinical signs.

Equine veterinarians from Sweden and the United States have taken the traditional myelogram a step further, showing that imaging horses’ necks with computed tomography (CT)—a technology that historically has had limited use in horses–instead of radiography is both possible and beneficial, even in large horses.

Mads Kristoffersen, DVM, CertES (Orth), Dipl. ECVS, of the Evidensia Equine Hospital, in Helsingborg, Sweden, presented a study on the procedure at the 2016 American Association of Equine Practitioners Convention, held Dec. 3-7 in Orlando, Florida.

Veterinary use of CT has escalated over the past few years, but equine practitioners have been limited in their use of the technology because many conventional CT units cannot accommodate horses’ large bodies. Even their extremities are sometimes too big to fit in the unit

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Written by:

Stacey Oke, MSc, DVM, is a practicing veterinarian and freelance medical writer and editor. She is interested in both large and small animals, as well as complementary and alternative medicine. Since 2005, she’s worked as a research consultant for nutritional supplement companies, assisted physicians and veterinarians in publishing research articles and textbooks, and written for a number of educational magazines and websites.

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