Standing Equine PET Scan Now Ready For Clinical Use On Racehorses In Training

POSTED ON  |  21-11-2019

PET scan horse
The UC Davis School of Veterinary Medicine, in collaboration with LONGMILE Veterinary Imaging, has completed the first phase of the validation of the MILE-PET, the first positron emission tomography (PET) scanner specifically designed to image the limbs of standing horses, using light sedation, eliminating the need for anesthesia.

The first phase of this study, funded by the Grayson Jockey Club Research Foundation and conducted under the supervision of Dr. Mathieu Spriet, associate professor of veterinary radiology at UC Davis, consisted of validating the safety of the system and establishing scanning protocols using research horses from the UC Davis Center for Equine Health. Six horses were imaged twice with the standing scanner and once under general anesthesia. This allowed the researchers to confirm the repeatability of findings and to compare with results obtained with the technique previously developed on anesthetized horses.

The horses tolerated all of the procedures well. All imaging sessions were successful, and no complications were reported. The quality of images obtained on the standing horses were similar to the ones performed under general anesthesia. “I am very excited to report that everything worked according to plan, if not better! I am very impressed with the quality of images we were able to obtain,” said Dr. Spriet.

Scan lengths ranging from 1 to 10 minutes were compared, and the team of experts concluded that a 4-minute scan is long enough to obtain images of high diagnostic quality. The rapidity of acquisition is a great advantage for clinical patients, as multiple areas can be imaged with just a short sedation time. The focus of this initial validation study has been on the fetlock joint, as this is the area most commonly injured in racehorses, but the researchers were also able to obtain high quality images of the foot and carpus (horse knee).

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