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Johns Hopkins Tests Veterinary Field

The Center for Image-Guided Animal Therapy features high-tech imaging services such as CT and MRI.

A feline patient at the Center for Image-Guided Animal Therapy.

Johns Hopkins University

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Johns Hopkins University, long known for its expertise in human health care and research, has established a small foothold in veterinary medicine.

The Baltimore institution’s School of Medicine opened the Center for Image-Guided Animal Therapy about 18 months ago, offering advanced imaging services on a referral basis.

Under the direction of Dara Kraitchman, VMD, MS, Ph.D., and Rebecca Krimins, DVM, MS, employees at the center see about 10 animal patients a week—everything from dogs and cats to ferrets and birds.

The available technologies include X-ray fluoroscopy and angiography, computed tomography (CT), magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) and positron emission tomography (PET scan). MRI can be used to guide needles during biopsies of suspected tumors, the university reported, and imaging plays a role in minimally invasive procedures such as cryoablation and stenting.

“Imaging often allows us to perform procedures like this without open surgery,” Dr. Kraitchman said.

Johns Hopkins is pursuing veterinary research, too. A test of whether imaging can detect impending heart failure in dogs is in an early stage, and a trial of a long-acting pain medication is planned.

The university isn’t trying to put local veterinarians out of business, said Kraitchman, a professor of radiology and radiological science. Images taken at the Center for Image-Guided Animal Therapy are sent to a veterinary radiologist for final evaluation and then to the patient’s veterinarian.

“We’re looking not to compete but to partner with specialists around us,” Kraitchman said.

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