Thursday, March 19, 2015

Johns Hopkins opens advanced imaging centre - for non-human patients

Dog CT scan advanced imaging
Tiny Phil (anaesthetised) in a ginormous CT scanner at the Animal Referral Hospital.

One of the interesting developments in veterinary medicine and surgery is the explosion in imaging technology. When I graduated the concept of performing and MRI or CT was something clinicians would have a laugh about – "As if we could ever do that!" Now I refer patients for those procedures. Diagnostically, prognostically and therapeutically, advanced imaging can make all the difference. And as SAT readers would know, Phil had a CT when investigating his unilateral rhinitis (aka his propensity to shoot monster boogers from one nostril…a charming little talent which he retains, although the incidence has been reduced by treatment).

So I was interested to learn that the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine just opened its Centre for Image-Guided Animal Therapy. According to a statement, 

Recent years have seen breakneck innovation in the field of radiology, from MRI-guided biopsies, to image-guided stenting, to ways to lower radiation dosage while preserving image quality. Now, a dedicated centre at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine is making those innovations available to our four-legged — and even winged — friends.”

Professor Dara Kraitchman (DVM, PhD) is Director of the centre. It will act as a referral facility, providing access to x-ray fluoroscopy and angiography, CT, MRI and positron emission tomography. It will also be used to perform image-guided biopsies and minimally invasive surgical procedures like cryoablation and stenting.

The facility currently scans about 10 patients per week. Its team includes Kraitchman; veterinary anaesthesiologist and co-director Rebecca Krimins, veterinary and MRI technicians; and nursing staff. Images will be transferred in real time to a veterinary radiologist for final evaluation and then sent to the patient’s veterinarian.

You can read more about it here.