Ultrasonography

We have 2 diagnostic ultrasound machines with both linear and sector capabilities, which allows us to access all areas we need to. We have both portable and hospital-based machines.

Ultrasonography is an extremely important tool in the examination of the musculoskeletal system in horses with lameness/orthopedic issues, including:

  • Evaluation of the soft tissues (ligaments/tendons/muscles/pelvis and spinal ligaments)
  • Joints and fractures, click here for more information

Internal Medicine use ultrasound imaging in most cases. We have a wide range of sector probes for investigations including:

  • Full cardiology assessments with colour flow Doppler examination for evaluation of heart murmurs detected at examination
  • Abdominal disease (acute and chronic/recurrent colic, weight loss or liver disease)
  • Urinary tract disease (Kidneys/bladder)
  • Thoracic disease (Pleuropneumonia, pulmonary abscesses, neoplasia), and
  • Ophthalmic disease, see Internal Medicine page for more information

Transrectal ultrasonography is a crucial component of reproductive medicine and is used for:

  • Pregnancy diagnosis
  • Pre-breeding soundness examination
  • Investigation of infertility, and routine AI examinations.

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Radiography

The new Digital Radiography system at Newnham Court Equine Clinic comprises a portable unit that can be used in the clinic or can be transported to the yard for laminitis cases, or when a fracture is suspected. With our units, we are able to image all structures including upper limbs, necks, heads, backs and chests in most horses.

The DR system provides images on the laptop within a few seconds of taking the radiograph. This image can then be manipulated, to change the exposure, contrast or magnify certain areas. Digital x-rays are vastly superior in quality to the conventional film radiographs. Another advantage is the flexibility in handling digital files, and we regularly email radiographs to farriers or specialist vets. Where possible we encourage horses to come to the clinic for radiography. However, we appreciate there are many reasons where this may not be practicable and a visit may be needed.

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Advanced imaging techniques

Other more advanced imaging techniques may be required for the further investigation of your horse’s condition. These include gamma scintigraphy, MRI and CT.

Nuclear scintigraphy is a diagnostic imaging technique that is used to measure the metabolic activity in bone, generally. A radioactive isotope is injected into the horse intravenously and after 2-3 hours, the emitted radiation is captured by an external gamma camera to produce an image. Areas that have increased radiation indicate increased uptake of radiopharmaceutical meaning increased bone activity. Increased uptake is often due to tissue damage in that location, which may not be visible on radiographs or may be in areas such as the pelvis, that are inaccessible to radiography, e.g. upper limb, back or pelvis. We may recommend your horse is referred for scintigraphy in subtle orthopaedic cases that have not responded to nerve/joint blocks, that are radiologically or ultrasound silent, or where we suspect upper limb, back or pelvic issues. It may also be useful in the investigation of certain neurological conditions.

Once we have identified areas of increased uptake, we will continue with the investigation at Newnham Court Equine Clinic, having identified the areas to radiograph or ultrasound, or to treat. Katie Snalune has over 10 years experience in interpreting bone scans, and is happy to assist the team in interpretation of these findings.

MRI may be performed in the standing horse, mainly for imaging of the lower limbs, or can be performed under general anaesthesia for imaging of the head, in investigation of central nervous system disease or suspected masses.

CT is especially useful in the identification of dental and sinus disease and for investigation of diseases of the brain/skull, including horses presenting with headshaking and neurological disease. This can be performed as a day procedure in the standing horse. We maintain strong links with many referral centres where this service is available.