Brock Veterinary Clinic, in Lamesa, Texas, recently made the decision to install a new Hallmarq standing MRI unit in the clinic. Before the installation, the nearly 11,000 equine patients seen by Dr. Bo Brock each year would have to travel six to seven hours to the closest MRI.
“We see a lot of lameness and lower-leg issues in the horses that come to us,” says Dr. Brock, owner of the rural West Texas practice he started in 1992. “And in a region with a large number of horses and few diagnostic options close by, there was a real need for clients and patients to have more convenient access to diagnostic-imaging services.”
For some horse owners in West Texas and eastern New Mexico, the nearest MRI could be as long as a 12-hour drive to another practice in Arizona or Denver, making the hauling of an injured horse often impractical and very inconvenient.
Brock Veterinary Clinic is a 24-year-old mixed-animal practice, which includes seven veterinarians and 25 staff members, and serves clients with a wide variety of performance and race horses. The practice provides a wide range of orthopedic surgery, sports medicine, rehabilitation and other services for their patients.
The Hallmarq standing MRI is a safer alternative to the conventional recumbent large-animal MRI units, because it doesn’t require anesthesia, a known safety hazard to equine health..
“Standing MRI provides the quality of diagnostic imaging we need to accurately diagnose a problem, without the recovery issues and potential problems that horses under anesthesia can have with traditional prone MRI systems,” Dr. Brock explains. “Of the 500 or so horses I’ve sent out for traditional MRI, I’ve had seven die from complications associated with recovery from anesthesia. To me, it’s not worth the risk if there’s a safer option.”