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Virginia Tech gets cutting-edge CT scanner

The Pegaso HD CT device is the first of its kind on the East Coast

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The installation of a high-definition CT scanner has given horse owners in Virginia and Maryland another reason to take their animals to the Marion duPont Scott Equine Medical Center in Leesburg, Va.

The Pegaso HD CT device is the first of its kind on the East Coast and one of only a handful in the world, reported the Virginia-Maryland College of Veterinary Medicine, which operates the equine hospital. The scanner, manufactured by Epica Medical Innovations of San Clemente, Calif., was made possible through a donation from the James Hale Steinman Foundation.Pegaso HD CT device is the first of its kind on the East Coast and one of only a handful in the world, reported the Virginia-Maryland College of Veterinary Medicine, which operates the equine hospital. The scanner, manufactured by Epica Medical Innovations of San Clemente, Calif., was made possible through a donation from the James Hale Steinman Foundation.

The computed tomography scanner produces 3-D X-rays, especially of the head and neck in a standing horse, and the limbs, stifle and vertebrae in a recumbent patient. The higher resolution images require less radiation than do conventional CT scanners, the university stated.

“This imaging technology will be particularly beneficial in evaluating dental structures and paranasal sinuses, the neck and orthopedic injuries involving the bones and joints,” said the equine center’s director, Mike Erskine, DVM, Dipl. ABVP. “It is also well-suited to obtain detailed images of solid tumors.”

Other Pegaso units operate at the Colorado State University College of Veterinary Medicine, the Dick School of Veterinary Studies at the University of Edinburgh in Scotland and at a veterinary hospital in Germany.

Pioneer Equine Hospital in Oakdale, Calif., uses a beta version that will be swapped out for the new production model, said Doug Nieman, Epica’s director of field installation and service.

The $425,000 scanner offers several advantages over conventional scanners, Epica stated:

  • Thinner, high-definition slices present clearer images.
  • A bore gantry of 1.8 meters—thought to be the largest in the industry—allows animals to be scanned without positioning them at odd angles or modifying the scanner.
  • The machine permits large animals like horses to be scanned while standing.
  • Motion-correcting software delivers clear images even if a patient moves 10 centimeters.
  • A fluoroscopy mode allows veterinarians to view real-time moving images.

Epica stated that Pegaso scanners are expected to be installed by early 2017 at two aquariums, Disney’s Animal Kingdom and another California equine practice.Pegaso scanners are expected to be installed by early 2017 at two aquariums, Disney’s Animal Kingdom and another California equine practice.

A New York company, Four Dimensional Digital Imaging (4DDI), late last year unveiled Equimagine, a robotic CT system that permits whole-body scans of upright and moving equine patients. The price at the time ranged from $425,000 to $895,000.


Originally published in the December 2016 issue of Veterinary Practice News. Did you enjoy this article? Then subscribe today! 

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