Animal Health Trust to Install Standing MRI

The Animal Health Trust in Newmarket, England, has announced that it will be acquiring a standing magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) unit to expand its equine diagnostic capabilities.

"In 2000, a high-field MRI scanner was installed at the Animal Health Trust, mainly for small animal use," announced the Trust this week in its E-newsletter. "However, we saw the potential usefulness of MRI for imaging of the horse and it has truly revolutionized our knowledge of problems causing lameness. Through this technique, we continue to identify new conditions resulting in more successful treatments to alleviate suffering in horses."

Representatives from the Trust report that the current high-field MRI system has some drawbacks, including the requirement that a horse be put under general anesthesia for a scan. They said, "General anesthesia in horses carries a small but significant risk of complications, sometimes serious, and it is preferable to avoid this where possible and carry out procedures in the standing animal under sedation. Secondly, although we can image from the foot to the knee or hock in most horses, we are limited to the foot and fetlock in smaller horses."

The new lower-field unit will allow imaging in the standing, sedated horse. The Jean Coubrough Charitable Trust provided funding for construction of a dedicated Standing MRI Suite, which is currently in the commissioning phase.

The Horse visited the Animal Health Trust in 2005. Read more about the organization and its clinical and research work at

About the Author

Stephanie L. Church, Editor-in-Chief

Stephanie L. Church, Editor-in-Chief, received a B.A. in Journalism and Equestrian Studies from Averett College in Danville, Virginia. A Pony Club and 4-H graduate, her background is in eventing, and she is schooling her recently retired Thoroughbred racehorse, Happy, toward a career in that discipline. She also enjoys traveling, photography, cycling, and cooking in her free time.

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