Diagnostic Imaging

The imaging facilities provided within our Referral Hospital are world class. We are unique in the South West in having a large team of Veterinary Surgeons who have undergone further training to become European Specialists in diagnostic imaging and all hold the European Diploma in Veterinary Diagnostic Imaging (DipECVDI).

This means we are able to interpret and report on our images as they are taken, allowing us to take further or alternate images immediately if indicated.

The team are available 24-7 to offer in house support for all diagnostic imaging of our equine referral cases.

General Info


Standing Equine MRI

The facilities of the Langford Equine Centre now include a standing equine MRI (Hallmarq). The Equine MRI completes the diagnostic imaging facilities already available on-site (scintigraphy, radiography, ultrasound and CT) and will enable us to provide an enhanced and more complete service.  

Equine MRI offers the ability to image soft tissue structures and identify soft tissue injuries that cannot be demonstrated with other diagnostic imaging modalities. It therefore offers additional value that is key in providing a diagnosis and prognosis in lameness evaluations.



Head CT scans

Head CT scan

 Our CT scanner is one of only seven scanners in the country able to acquire studies of equine heads in standing patients.

This eliminates the risk of general anaesthesia and provides our equine clinicians with detailed cross-sectional images for diagnosis and treatment planning.

The brand new 16 slice Siemens Somatom Emotion scanner represents one of the most advanced scanners in veterinary use today.

By acquiring 16 slices per rotation it ensures faster image acquisition while producing images of superb clarity. This offers great benefits to patient diagnosis, giving high resolution images for investigation of sinus, dental and neurological disease.



Bone Scans

Bone scan of a hockBone scan of teeth


Nuclear scintigraphy (bone scan) is a technique, which uses a radioactive isotope to detect areas in the skeleton, where active modelling occurs. These areas are recognised as ‘hot spots’ on the image.
Scintigraphy is mostly used as a part of lameness investigation, but it can also provide valuable information for dental disorders, respiratory and other medical problems.

Scintigraphy is always performed after a thorough clinical examination and sometimes following other diagnostic procedures, which failed to explain the lameness.
It can be very useful to detect injuries at an early stage, such as stress fractures, which mostly occur in Thoroughbred racehorses. In sports horses, amongst others, scintigraphy can help to diagnose lesions in the foot, sacroiliac regions and back.

Besides detecting lesions not identifiable by other imaging techniques, scintigraphy can also help to establish the clinical significance of lesions detected by radiography, ultrasound or MRI.


Horses are usually admitted on the day before a planned scintigraphic examination. It is important that horses are exercised prior to admission to maintain good blood flow in the limbs, which will contribute to good quality images.
On the day of the scan, a solution containing the isotope is injected into the circulation in the morning. It takes approximately 2 ½ hours to achieve good distribution of the isotope in the bones, therefore the actual scanning is performed in the early afternoon.

Horses are sedated for the scan and usually tolerate the procedure very well. Depending on how big part of the horse has to be scanned, and also, how the horse behaves, the examination lasts between 1 and 3 hours.
Due to radiation safety and local regulations, horses are kept in isolation for 36 hours after the injection of the isotope, which means that further investigation cannot be performed until 2 days after the scan.

This is also the earliest time that the horse can leave the hospital.



X-Ray of the elbow

Radiography is still one of the main modalities used in veterinary imaging. Our images are taken by experienced radiographers and processed using a Fuji CR system which produces high quality digital images. These are read and reported by our team of Specialist Veterinary Radiologists.

A range of contrast studies are regularly performed including intravenous urography, myelography, arthrography and portovenography.

Where appropriate, these can be evaluated in ‘real time’ using fluoroscopy.

Please note we also provide an image reading service to vets to assist with interpretation of their own images.