Standing Equine MRI Provides Benefits for the Diagnosis of Foot Lameness
Hallmarq Equine MRI Systems Offer Early, Safe and Accurate Lameness Diagnosis

Acton, MA (June 25, 2010) - Standing MRI systems, now available at equine veterinary clinics throughout the United States, provide a number of benefits over traditional, anesthetized MRIs when diagnosing lameness of the foot. Quicker and more cost-effective than traditional MRIs, these new, standing systems allow horse owners to avoid the risks inherent if their horse is put under full anesthesia.
Hallmarq Veterinary ImagingTM currently manufactures the only equine MRI system that can scan the foot while the horse is standing and without anesthesia. The company's unique MRI machines offer equine veterinarians the opportunity to conduct safe MRI scanning earlier in the process of lameness diagnosis. This early use of MRI technology can help lead to an accurate diagnosis more quickly.
"Putting a horse under general anesthesia comes with an inherent level of risk to the health of the horse," said Dan Brown, BVSc, ACIM, MRCVS , U.S. Business Development Director for Hallmarq Veterinary Imaging. "That risk is now unnecessary for many foot lamenesses. With just light sedation, a horse can now undergo MRI scanning that will provide a detailed, accurate picture of what's going on inside the foot."
In fact, a published study found a 1% risk of death from anesthesia in healthy horses1. If a horse needs to be anesthetized multiple times for follow-up MRI scans with a traditional machine, that risk would be multiplied. This means that, with traditional MRI systems, there is a small, but measurable risk to the horse.
Hallmarq equine MRI systems are able to achieve a detailed scan without full anesthesia because of the particular type of technology they employ. Traditional MRI machines utilize "high-field" scanners that are tube-shaped. By contrast, standing equine MRI uses "low-field" scanners that are typically C- or U-shaped - rather like the "open MRI" machines prevalent in human medicine. Sedation, administered by a veterinarian, helps keep the horse still enough for the scan. Any gentle body movements can be corrected during the scan through special software in the Hallmarq MRI System.
"Our Hallmarq equine MRI systems are easier to install and use than traditional, anesthetized MRI," said Brown. "This results in a more cost-effective option for diagnosis, and a safe one as well. No fatalities have occurred using Hallmarq MRI systems in over 18,000 exams at 44 sites in 11 countries."
Hallmarq Veterinary Imaging is the only manufacturer of MRI systems for the standing, sedated horse. The team that developed this unique technology is experienced in the design and manufacture of clinical, research and industrial MRI systems. With over 18,000 examinations performed on horses to date, and systems installed throughout the US and Europe, Hallmarq's goal is to make MRI cost effective, while giving veterinarians access to proven technology.
For more information on Hallmarq Veterinary Imaging, visit the company online at or call 978-266-1219.
1. Johnston G.M., Taylor P.M., Holmes M.A. and Wood J.L.N. (1995) Confidential enquiry of peri-operative equine fatalities (CEPEF): preliminary results. Equine vet J 27 193-200
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