Today, equine veterinarians can diagnose and treat disease with more speed and certainty than ever thanks to an array of increasingly sophisticated technologies. The digitization of clinical information has had a profound impact on the quality of veterinary care and how veterinarians consult with one another and communicate information to clients.
Diagnostic imaging has evolved rapidly in the last five years. "The biggest change is the diversity of things we can look at," says Anthony Pease, DVM, MS, Dipl. ACVR, section chief of diagnostic imaging at Michigan State University’s College of Veterinary Medicine. "Everything that we do now is computerized, whether it’s ultrasound, nuclear medicine, MRI, or CT."
Computed Tomography (CT) Computed tomography uses radiographs (X rays) and image processing software to generate three-dimensional images of body structures. "CT allows us to really evaluate bone, because it is still X ray technology," says Pease. Unlike a radiograph, which provides a two-dimensional image, CT displays structures in three dimensions by taking pictures in "slices."
"CT is very good for visualizing head trauma, dental disease, and nasal problems, which are common in horses," according to Pease. "The structures of the head are difficult to see in two dimensions because there is so much superimposition (anatomical structures located above and beneath each other)."
Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) Magnetic resonance refers to the movement of water molecules in the