Vet college hosts imaging experts

One of the most dramatic medical tools invented in modern history is now helping one of man’s oldest friends — the horse.

Thanks to recent magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) advancements, veterinarians are getting an unsurpassed look at injuries to equine athletes and companions.

Hosted by Washington State University’s College of Veterinary Medicine, imaging and horse experts from around the world recently gathered in Coeur d’Alene, Idaho, for the first comprehensive meeting ever to be conducted in this relatively new field for veterinary medicine.

“It’s ground breaking in the sense that we’re bringing some of the top radiologists and equine surgeons together to see problems in horses with MRI that, in the past, were difficult, if not impossible, to discover without exploratory surgery,” said Russ Tucker, chief of medical imaging at the WSU College of Veterinary Medicine.

The keynote speaker for the program was Charles Ho, a radiologist with a special interest in musculoskeletal MRI and one of the most prestigious medical imaging specialists in the nation. Ho has consulted with WSU’s faculty over their unmatched veterinary imaging capabilities and recently was hired by the National Football League’s Denver Broncos to work with their medical staff.

This was the first course of its type, and it filled to capacity almost immediately.

The MRI system, common in human medicine, uses magnetic energy instead of X-ray radiation to produce a series of images of both the bone structure and soft tissues. WSU’s veterinary college pioneered the use of the MRI in live horses.

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