Excellent quality diagnostic imaging is what we are building our practice around. All of our equipment is portable and digital. We made our truck a mobile hotspot as well so we can send x-rays or ultrasounds anywhere in the world right from the barn aisle or show grounds, or to a specialist for review or an official report. All of our imaging is stored locally as well as backed up to the cloud, so we can always access it and know it is safe and secure.
Our x-ray system is a Sound NEXT. It is a digital radiography system that allows us to acquire and view images instantly in the stall, barn aisle, or field. Our system allows us to radiograph the limbs up to the shoulder and stifle, back, neck and head in the field. We work with the Equine Medical Center of Ocala to image larger areas like the chest, abdomen, or pelvis because of the large, ceiling mounted x–ray equipment needed that unfortunately does not fit on our truck. The EMC also performs bone scans and MRIs for our clients when needed.
What can x-ray see? X-rays are used to evaluate bone and teeth primarily. We can look for evidence of arthritis, trauma, fractures, infections and developmental orthopedic diseases, like OCDs. In equine sports medicine, we most commonly find arthritic changes, which helps us know which joints may need therapy. If your horse’s radiographs are normal, it lets us know we may need to keep looking. X-rays can also show problems in some soft tissues, like the lungs and abdomen. Horses with pneumonia may have fluid lines or gray, hazy areas in their lungs. X-rays may also be used in some colic cases where we can see sand sitting in the large colon, or enteroliths, stones made of minerals formed in the large intestine, stuck in the colon.
We utilize a GE Logiq E portable ultrasound to look at tendons, ligaments, and other soft tissues. Ultrasound uses sound waves to map soft tissues and show us a black and white image. This is called “B Mode”. It can also track blood flow and show us what direction blood is flowing using red and blue colors, called Color Doppler. We use both in equine sports medicine to identify and track soft tissue and sometimes bone injuries. We also utilize our ultrasound for performing guided therapies, where we can visualize placing a needle in a specific location at an injury or near a joint to provide medications directly to the injured area.
What about prepurchase films? Our prepurchase radiograph set includes 38 radiographs of the front feet, front and hind fetlocks, hocks, and knees or stifles. Depending on the horse’s history and intended use, we will tailor the views to get the best information for you. If another veterinarian will also be reviewing the radiographs and has specific views they would like to see, let us know before the exam and we will include them. We are happy to perform more than the standard set of films, and can include other regions like the neck, back or shoulders at your request or depending on what we find during the exam. Our prepurchase films include a written report that details our findings, summarizes what the most important ones are, and discusses what the clinical impact may be of any changes seen on the radiographs. We pride ourselves on taking high quality images, so if your veterinarian or a radiologist is ever unhappy with the quality of a radiograph we submit, we will redo it at no charge.
Have a set of prepurchase films you would like another opinion on? We are happy to review and provide a written report on any sets of outside films you have. During lameness exams, we also can review older imaging, typically at no cost. Access to older radiographs often helps us know if radiographic findings are new or old and can help guide additional diagnostics and treatment.
More important that obtaining quality images, is analyzing and interpreting them. Dr. Jill has several years of advanced training in ultrasound, x-ray, bone scan and MRI interpretation. She continues to pursue additional imaging training and frequently consults with specialists. She is a member of the Large Animal Diagnostic Imaging Society, a group formed by the American College of Veterinary Radiologists, for practitioners focused on improving diagnostic imaging quality and knowledge.