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Looking backwards to move forwards!

What does it look like to be celebrating 20 years in the advanced veterinary imaging industry? Well, it looks exciting that’s for sure! With new technologies on the horizon, and plenty more yet to come from the pioneers in equine MRI lameness diagnosis, Hallmarq Veterinary Imaging continues its mission to revolutionize advanced imaging, delivering new and innovative technology to both equine and small animal veterinarians.

Time to Reflect! 

Although we are continually focused on looking ahead, this major milestone offers the opportunity for some nostalgic reflection, as co-founder Nick Bolas explains:

“Twenty years ago, MRI was known as a powerful diagnostic tool for equine foot lameness but was only available at Washington State University in the US and the Animal Health Trust in the UK.  Along with my co-founders, we set out to make equine MRI diagnosis far more accessible, improving safety by eliminating the need for general anesthesia, and reducing cost, making it affordable to referral clinics. But our ambitions didn’t stop there; MRI and CT for small animals and horses were always in the long-term plans.

Establishing Standing Equine MRI took longer than we ever expected (and what start-ups are not over-ambitious), but it is now routine, completely changing the way lameness is diagnosed. Even without an MRI of their own, clinicians now understand so much more about the inner workings of the equine foot, especially the soft tissue structures (tendons and ligaments). 

MRI operator, managing horse in Equine MRI scanner

Hallmarq CEO, Jos Belgrave supports this assertion, reflecting on how this technology could have helped with safe and accurate lameness diagnosis during his time in practice:

It is sometimes hard to remember how poor veterinarians were at accurately diagnosing many causes of equine lameness 20 years ago. Maybe if MRI had existed when I was in practice, I would have had fewer failures due to incorrect diagnosis and treatment?”

Advancing Innovation

Reflection is all very well but there is much more to be done as the company moves into the next decade with the launch of its NEW Standing Equine Leg CT.  As Bolas states,

“MRI is no longer the only string to the company’s bow; we are now enjoying the challenge of x-ray CT, a different type of imaging. CT is a more mature technology than MRI but with the fresh perspective of an MRI mindset, and modern computing capabilities, holds open the door to a new generation of devices. We’re looking forward to revolutionizing equine CT in the same way as MRI over the coming months and years.

Hallmarq continues to push advances in both hardware and software, showing no signs of slowing down in its pursuit of better veterinary care for our much-loved pets, companions, and working partners.”

We’ve come a long way in the past twenty years with 124 MRI systems installed in private practice, universities, racetracks, and research centers, in 24 countries around the world. But rest assured, Hallmarq is not just a ‘one-trick-pony.’ We’ve evolved from our initial product, now the gold standard in equine lameness diagnosis, to expand our support services, offer affordable installation options and unique business models, and have transferred our experience and expertise to our veterinary specific Small Animal MRI system and Standing Equine Leg CT.  

This continued focus on advancement and innovation is one that Belgrave wholeheartedly supports:

“Many companies talk of innovation, but few manage it successfully and commercialize their ideas. Hallmarq stands out in having a 20-year pedigree of innovation with three unique product developments to its name, along with progressive business and support models.”

With truly unique partnerships that go way beyond the supply of a machine, collaboration with customers has always been at the heart of all we do. Our world-class Q-Care program is our company wide commitment to supporting the success of every site and is what helps makes us unique in the marketplace.

A Team Effort

Bolas is rightly proud to acknowledge Hallmarq as pioneers in the industry, but also recognises that achievements are rarely made without the help of others with the same driving passion for improved animal welfare:

‘No foot, no horse’ has been a horse welfare problem for thousands of years – to have made my mark on its history is my proudest achievement, with a close second being providing gainful employment for dozens of Hallmarq staff and hundreds of vets and veterinary technicians across the world.

Neither equine MRI nor Hallmarq would ever have grown without our early supporters, however. I would particularly like to thank co-founders David Taylor and Richard Stoner, and veterinary support from the Bell Equine team of Richard Jones, Tim Mair, Julian Samuelson, Karen Coumbe and David Sinclair, Sue Dyson, Rachel Murray and John Walmsley in the UK, and Norm Rantanen, Paul McLellan, Nat White and Werner Jahn overseas for their help and encouragement during those founding years two decades ago.”

Our Mission

A lot has happened at Hallmarq over the past two decades. Our story documents the years from initial idea and inception to the present days of continuing advancements in MRI and CT technology. As we hit the ground running in 2021, our mission statement is never far from the back of our minds. Why? Because we truly believe that it reflects not only who we are but who our customers are; that alignment is what drives us in offering advanced diagnostic imaging solutions to support veterinarians and their patients around the world. Here’s to the next two decades!

Our vision is to improve the lives of animals, and the people who care for them. 

We will accomplish this by increasing access to advanced imaging through awareness, education, and affordable and safe veterinary products.

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