The hospital is equipped with two Eklin EDR3 digital x-ray machines. One is stationed permanently in the hospital, and one is used for on-road work.
Digital radiography does not require film processing, and allows immediate examination of x-rays on a computer screen. These images can be manipulated to allow subtle changes to be better highlighted, and sent in digital form via disc or email to referring vets and clients.
The increased speed of image generation, and much greater image clarity compared to wet-film processing represents a tremendous leap forward in our diagnostic ability.
X-raying your horse
X-rays are generally taken based either on abnormal clinical findings, such as a swollen or painful joint, or after localisation using nerve blocks.
Because everything in the path of an x-ray beam ends up on the final picture, there is a great degree of overlay of structures. For this reason, several pictures of a joint are taken at different angles, so that different areas may be highlighted. Because of radiation hazard, and cost considerations, speculative x-raying of an entire limb is impractical, and generally unrewarding. This is especially true in older horses, which often have radiographical signs of wear and tear, which may not be associated with lameness.
One of the biggest limitations of radiology in horses is that x-rays cannot penetrate through large distances of muscle or bone, and so, with some selected exceptions, radiography of the abdomen and pelvic area is usually unrewarding in adult horses.
When your horse has x-rays taken, we will often sedate him/her, as movement blur makes x-rays unreadable, and personnel are often placed in positions of potential danger in order to get diagnostic views. This sedation will generally have worn off within 20-30 minutes of administration.