Avoiding MRI Anesthesia


It's been fast and furious from day one at Advanced Equine Imaging of Wellington, with over 100 horses in total coming through the clinic for advanced diagnostics since the grand opening in January. After all, for top equestrians with a lame horse, time is of the essence in figuring out what's wrong, and getting back on track for a short but crucial winter season in south Florida. 

Today's technology can eliminate the usual lengthy hair-pulling stress of a definitive diagnosis, and do so without anesthesia, thus avoiding yet another complication to returning to work immediately. Impatient to have this service available to their own clients, three esteemed veterinarians – Drs. Brendan Furlong, John Steele, Ben Schachter – founded Advanced Equine Imaging of Wellington (AEIW) to provide these services to the surrounding veterinarian community.

Dr. Brendan Furlong said, "Having the standing MRI technology available in Wellington was long overdue,   as evidenced by the enthusiastic response from our esteemed colleagues and winter equestrians. We are excited to have brought this technology to south Florida horses, and help them avoid the risks and rigors of lay-down anesthetized scans."

The power of MRI is the clarity and immediacy of diagnosis, over 90% of the time an MRI gives a clear diagnosis after only an initial trot-up. Without the MRI, a trot-up provides a provisional diagnosis and trial treatment plan, which in turns leads to a meager 30% success rate. The other 70% enter a repeating loop of trot-up, provisional diagnosis, trial treatment, reassess. (A hellish vortex all experienced sporthorse owners have experienced at one time or another.) 

The power of standing MRI is that it also offers a 90%-plus diagnostic rate, but avoids the very real risk of death from anesthesia, and in all cases avoids the stress on the horse's body having to be laid down and anesthetized. With standing MRI, the horse stands comfortably with one foot centered in the scanner, lightly sedated to remain still. With a clear diagnosis, the horse can begin recovery immediately, and be back to work as quickly as possible with peace of mind that the problem has been identified and solved. To date, Hallmarq has been used in over 34,000 standing MRI scans worldwide.

As most experienced horse owners know, lameness is a ground-up issue, with the highest percentage of lamenesses occurring in the foot, with incidences reducing the higher up the leg you go. This makes standing MRI the obvious choice, and the need for anesthesia largely a thing of the past. "The closer to the ground, the less sway in a standing horse's limb, so hoof images are approaching 100% diagnostics quality, and fetlock images are close to that (98%) with our latest system," explained Dan Brown, a veterinarian and Business Development Director for Hallmarq. "Regions higher up the leg can also be imaged, but the results will be defined by how still the horse stays under sedation." Dr. Brown concluded, "We are exceptionally pleased to bring this accurate and safe option for MRIs to south Florida, and to be working with the highly regarded veterinarians of Advanced Equine Imaging of Wellington."

For more information about Advanced Equine Imaging of Wellington, please visit advancedequineimaging.com, or call (561) 790-0001.

For more information about Hallmarq standing MRIs, including finding the one nearest you, please visit hallmarq.net or call (978) 266-1219.