MRI propels lameness diagnosis
Jun 01, 2006
"I think the message to equine practitioners right now is that they tend to think that they don't have to worry about MRI because they can't afford it and that it is not available," says Bob Schneider, DVM, Dipl. ACVS, equine orthopedic surgeon at the Washington State University Veterinary Teaching Hospital. "But it is available. We're not talking about something that's in the near future. It's pretty much in use widely right now."
MRI has exceptional sensitivity and specificity, provides physiologic and anatomic information about bone and soft tissue and is useful to identify occult subchondral bone and soft-tissue injuries. MRI has made it possible to identify injury to the bone, tendons and ligaments that could not previously be identified in horses.
"We have been able to diagnose lameness problems we didn't even realize existed before MRI," Schneider says.
Ultrasound works for some problems but has limitations in imaging all the structures of the foot. Radiographs can detect major bone injuries clearly, but MRI is more sensitive, provides an even clearer picture and can identify accompanying soft-tissue injury. MRI produces a clear display of anatomy on any plane and allows for visualization of different tissue structures. The image along with a good physical can cue clinicians into what might be significant about an animal's presentation.
Helping make a firm diagnosis