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What's involved in an MRI scan?

The 9 steps involved in examination with Standing Equine MRI


You may be familiar with the tubular MRI machines from human hospitals, but Hallmarq’s Standing Equine MRI is slightly different. Instead of a superconducting magnet, it uses a C-shaped permanent magnet, allowing the horse’s foot to be placed in the middle.

The whole process is completely harmless to the horse and you should be able to drop him off and pick him up on the same day. Here's what you can expect, from referral to diagnosis. Some procedures may vary, so if in doubt please ask your vet.

  1. Your vet performs an initial clinical examination and refers the horse to the clinic after deciding MRI would help to diagnose his lameness
  2. The clinic contacts you to arrange an appointment and answer any questions you have

    Removing shoes


  4. You can either have your farrier remove the shoes before the appointment or the clinic can do it once your horse arrives. If a front foot is being scanned then both front shoes will need to be removed, and vice versa
  5. The clinic will take radiographs of the feet to be scanned to make sure there is no metal in the hooves that would disrupt the images
  6.  Performing hoof X-rays 

  7. The horse is sedated and walked into the MRI room. The horse handler will carefully position his feet in the magnet and fit a coil appropriate to the target region. The horse will be stood squarely and given a head support so he can relax
  8. The scan takes 1-2 hours and sedation will be topped up to keep the horse still
  9. Positioning horse in scanner

  10. After the scan, the horse walks out of the scan room and is allowed a little while to recover from the sedative before going home.
  11. Your vet will ring you in a few days with the results
  12. Your horse receives treatment targeted to his known injuries

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