Standing MRI Screens Racehorses for Fracture Risk

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A meeting held in early August among leading equine veterinarians concluded that the MRI unit that offers a standing-and-sedated option is “crucial” to the racehorse application.

The consensus was that standing MRIs are not only valuable in aiding diagnosis and case management, they offer experienced veterinarians a unique tool to aid clinical and training decisions via serial examinations on the same horse. As a routine screening tool, the group said these units had the “best potential” to screen racehorses at risk for condylar fracture, the leading cause of fatal breakdowns on the track.

The meeting, hosted by Hallmarq Veterinary Imaging, was convened to discuss the potential for standing MRI to reduce the risk of catastrophic fracture on the racetrack or in training. With over 90 percent of fatal injuries relating to the distal metacarpal area, having an affordable, accurate and repeatable (by virtue of not requiring anesthesia) screening tool is a significant development for racing safety.