Colorado State Vet Teaching Hospital Unveils New PET/CT Scanner

A ribbon cutting ceremony on Nov. 2 marked the unveiling of a new PET/CT (positron emission tomography/computed tomography) scanner at the Colorado State University Veterinary Teaching Hospital that is the first of its kind in any hospital in the world and the only PET/CT scanner dedicated to serving the needs of veterinary patients. The scanner is specially tailored for veterinary medicine, including both small and large animal patients.

The Gemini TruFlight Big Bore PET/CT imaging system will benefit multiple services at the Veterinary Teaching Hospital including oncology, neurology, cardiology, and equine medicine. The scanner became functional for patients this week. The hospital also is planning to install a customized table to better accommodate CT scans of large-animal patients.

"The University’s ability to remain a leader in veterinary medicine and cancer research depends upon its ability to stay on the cutting-edge of technology and knowledge," said Tony Frank, DVM, PhD, Dipl. ABVT, ACVP, president of Colorado State University. "This new system provides another avenue for the Veterinary Teaching Hospital to offer animals the best treatment available while greatly enhancing our ability to learn more about how to treat and save the lives of people and animals with diseases such as cancer."

A PET/CT scanner combines CT scanning functionality with a PET scanning functionality. CT provides detailed anatomic images of body regions. PET allows veterinarians to image blood flow to tumors and metabolically active structures. The two images can be combined to create a three-dimensional fused image of the structures.

"We're pleased to be the first veterinary hospital or clinic in the world to offer this service to our clients," said Lance Perryman, DVM, PhD, dean of the College of Veterinary Medicine and Biomedical Sciences. "It further enhances the expertise of the university's veterinarians, who are among the best in the world at diagnosing and treating a number of diseases that are important to both the animal and human populations."

The new Philips Healthcare PET/CT scanner was funded with assistance from appropriation requests from former U.S. Sen. Wayne Allard (DVM), through NASA, and the Health Resources and Services Administration. The University and College of Veterinary Medicine and Biomedical Sciences also contributed required federal matching funds and facility renovation funds. Some of those funds are expected to be recouped through services to hospital clients.

"While I was a student in the CSU veterinary college and since graduation, the College of Veterinary Medicine and Biomedical Sciences has always been among the best," said Allard. "I was happy to help secure the money for the new PET/CT imaging machine because I believe it will help advance not only animal medicine, but human medicine as well."

Faculty members actively involved in the planning and acquisition of the PET/CT, as well as the design of the imaging suite, were Richard Park, DVM, PhD, Dipl. ACVR; Susan Kraft, DVM, PhD, Dip. ACVR, ACVR-RO; Al Fuciarelli, PhD; Stephen Withrow, DVM, Dipl. ACVS, ACVIM; Jac Nickoloff, PhD; and Fred Harmon, PhD.

Stay on top of the most recent Horse Health news with FREE weekly newsletters from Learn More