From head to hoof
Diagnosing head and leg problems can be challenging for veterinarians and risky for horses. Until recently, veterinarians at the University of Minnesota College of Veterinary Medicine’s Leatherdale Equine Center relied on X-rays, which don’t show the full extent of leg or hoof problems. Doing a head CT scan meant anesthetizing the animal to lay it in the scanner. “Horses can break or fracture a bone when they try to stand up coming out of anesthesia, and those injuries can be catastrophic, even fatal,” says Nicolas Ernst, associate professor of equine surgery, sports medicine, and lameness.
In August 2019, the U of M installed a standing CT scanner designed specifically for horses, thanks to a gift from Doug and Louise Leatherdale.
Animals scanned: 87 (as of April)
Largest: A Percheron draft horse
Smallest: A newborn foal
Most unusual: An alpaca
Animals came from: Minnesota, Wisconsin, North Dakota, South Dakota, southern Canada
HELP FOR HORSES
“We felt it was important to have the best diagnostics possible. I have horses in this community, and we desperately needed it.” —Louise Leatherdale
“It makes me a better clinician and surgeon. It helps me identify problems before irreversible changes happen.”—Nicolas Ernst