Equine MRI Opens New Frontier in Lameness Diagnosis and Treatment

The first standing magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) machine for horses in the United States arrived at Equest Imaging in San Diego County’s San Marcos early this year.

No account yet? Register


The first “standing” magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) machine for horses in the United States arrived at Equest Imaging in San Diego County’s San Marcos early this year. In use at four clinics in the U.K. and Germany, the state-of-the-art, digital machine is spurring a “revolution” in the diagnosis and treatment of lameness in the performance horse, says Richard B. Markell, DVM, one of the clinic’s founders.

The MRI’s significance as a diagnostic tool is its ability to produce a “living gauge” of all tissue–bone, soft tissue, and cartilage. Different physiological states produce different degrees of magnetic resonance and the MRI reveals these simultaneous with the actual structure of the bones, joints and cartilage in question. As a treatment tool, MRI facilitates detailed monitoring of the rehab process. MRI also has the advantage of being a non-invasive procedure during which, in the case of Equest’s machine, the horse can stand, while mildly sedated, throughout the procedure.

Equest Imaging, which opened in February, also offers nuclear scintigraphy (bone scan), 3-D diagnostic ultrasound and digital radiograph equipment. These state-of-the art digital machines facilitate fast results and easy sharing of results with treating veterinarians via the Internet.
Equest’s founding veterinarians emphasize that no technology will ever replace the thorough lameness exam. To that end, Equest Imaging has a riding arena, a lunging area, and sloped pathways for walking or jogging horses on an incline. The 10-stall facility also has a special stall and pen for treating severe laminitis cases.

Markell’s partners in Equest Imaging are Paul McClellan, DVM, and Mark Silverman MS, DVM. Imaging expert, Norm Rantanen, DVM, MS, Dipl. ACVR, will consult. Rantanen is a board certified radiologist renowned for his work developing diagnostic ultrasound. He began working on MRIs for horses 10 years ago. Natasha Werpy, MS, DVM, a radiologist currently at Colorado State University, will also consult, as will Mark Martinelli DVM, PhD, Dipl. ACVS

Create a free account with TheHorse.com to view this content.

TheHorse.com is home to thousands of free articles about horse health care. In order to access some of our exclusive free content, you must be signed into TheHorse.com.

Start your free account today!

Already have an account?
and continue reading.


Written by:

Product and information releases by various organizations and companies.

Related Articles

Stay on top of the most recent Horse Health news with

FREE weekly newsletters from TheHorse.com

Sponsored Content

Weekly Poll

sponsored by:

Do you use slow feeders or slow feed haynets for your horse? Tell us why or why not.
289 votes · 289 answers

Readers’ Most Popular

Sign In

Don’t have an account? Register for a FREE account here.

Need to update your account?

You need to be logged in to fill out this form

Create a free account with TheHorse.com!