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Briefings: March 2019

UC Davis Performs First PET Scan on a Standing Horse

The University of California Davis School of Veterinary Medicine has successfully used positron emission tomography (PET) on a standing horse.

The equine PET software has been pioneered at UC Davis, beginning in 2015. However, the horses being previously imaged had to be put under anesthetic in order to capture the image. Now, horses can remain standing with only slight sedation.

PET imaging technique shows more insight than just radiography or magnetic resonance imaging (MRI). It displays the activity of bone or soft tissue lesions at the molecular level. The equine PET scanner was originally devised from a human brain scanner from Brain Biosciences, Inc. The UC Davis Center for Equine Health (CEH) launched a clinical program using the original human scanner to turn it into a tool to examine horses.


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Photo: Eleanor Kellon

Obese Horses Are the “New Normal”

In the United Kingdom, half of the horses are overweight, according to The Telegraph. Leading equine vets say the rise in equine obesity is due to owners not understanding how to keep their horses healthy, resulting in many animals being overweight, which can lead to other dangerous medical issues, such as laminitis. Experts from the British Equine Veterinary Association (BEVA) report that hundreds of horses are euthanized every year because of laminitis.

Studies examined by David Rendle, a member of BEVA’s ethics and welfare committee, show that around half of all U.K. horses are now overweight. According to the research, Rendle…

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