3-D imager provides closer look inside

Pennsylvania hospital paid more than $200,000 for its advanced machine

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A Pennsylvania veterinary hospital in late May began using a computed tomography (CT) 64-slice scanner to generate three-dimensional images of bones and internal organs.

The Aquilion 64, made by Toshiba Corp., also is used in human medicine, but its price tag makes the machine unaffordable to many veterinary practices.

Veterinary Specialty and Emergency Center paid more than $200,000 for its Aquilion 64, a spokesman said, and is employing it with pets suffering from trauma, fractures, tumors and other medical problems.

The hospital, part of the BluePearl Veterinary Partners network, invested in the CT scanner but isn’t charging clients anything extra.

“This gives us a significant increase in diagnostic capability, but we’re not increasing the cost to clients,” said Alexander MacLeod, DVM, Dipl. ACVR, the chief of diagnostic imaging.

As if paying for one scanner wasn’t enough, Veterinary Specialty and Emergency Center plans to install a second at its sister hospital in Philadelphia.

The “64” refers to Aquilion’s ability to produce 64 different internal slices, or pictures, when building a 3-D image.

“We’ll have much better resolution in all three dimensions,” Dr. MacLeod said.

The higher resolution gives veterinarians a clearer view inside patients’ bodies.

“In a tumor or liver shunt we’ll get a better idea of how blood vessels are moving into the problem area,” MacLeod said.

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