College of Veterinary Medicine

Development & External Relations

Gifts in Action 2008

A New Gamma Camera Makes Lameness Diagnoses Easier Thanks to a Generous Gift to the College of Veterinary Medicine
Gamma camera
State-of-the-Art Technology: 
The gamma camera helps diagnose
 lameness and makes it possible
to successfully treat more horses.

The exact cause of lameness in horses can sometimes be difficult to find. But thanks to a generous donor, the WSU College of Veterinary Medicine's new gamma camera will make diagnosis easier.

"The gamma camera is essential for equine orthopedic lameness," says Dr. Kelly Farnsworth assistant professor in WSU's Veterinary Clinical Sciences department. "Localized lameness is difficult to radiograph."

The gamma camera, or nuclear scintigraphy machine, is a diagnostic tool that can locate fractures often not found using standard radiography, or x-rays. The machine can detect abnormal spots of increased activity on bone known as "hot spots."

While radiography, or x-rays, can take pictures of bone, the gamma camera can find bone turnover-old bone breaking down and new bone forming. By using radionuclides, or tracers, veterinarians can see abnormal spots of increased activity, or hot spots, on the bone.

"We use it to localize or confirm sites of lameness," says Dr. Farnsworth. "We've also been able to detect tumors not found on radiographs."

The gamma camera is just part of the full-service equine diagnostics at WSU. "We get a lot of horses looked at by other people and we can offer additional diagnostic tests," says Dr. Farnsworth. "Most places don't have gamma cameras, MRIs, or CTs so we can offer those services to people in our region."

Extraordinary Care:
The therapeutic ultrasound
machine heats deep tissues and passively
exercises muscles.The advanced therapy helps
reduce pain and speeds recovery.

A New Ultrasound Machine Provides Pain Relief and Speeds Healing for Small Animals

Dogs and cats receiving physical therapy at the WSU Veterinary Teaching Hospital will get some additional relief thanks to a new ultrasound machine from a generous friend of the college.  The state-of-the-art ultrasound machine is the first for the small animal rehabilitation center, which began treating patients in January 2008.  As of October the same year, the rehabilitation center treated more than 50 patients.
The therapeutic ultrasound machine uses high-frequency sound waves, or ultrasound, to heat tissue more deeply and with greater therapeutic benefits.  While common methods of warming muscles may only reach about three centimeters in depth, ultrasound therapy provides deep tissue relief reaching approximately five centimeters.  Deeper heat relaxes tight muscles, increases range of mobility, and increases blood flow to tissues to help reduce inflammation and swelling.
The ultrasound unit also has electrical stimulation capabilities that provide two additional therapeutic benefits:  neuromuscular stimulation, a passive exercise that strengthens weakened muscles due to injury and reduces muscle atrophy; and transcutaneous electrical stimulation, or TENS, that helps relieve acute and chronic pain in canine patients. 
"Active exercise are best, but if it is too painful, then adding passive exercises and TENS to the treatment plan helps the animal feel more comfortable," says Lori Lutskas, a licensed veterinary technician and WSU's veterinary physical rehabilitation specialist.

Last Edited: Nov 26, 2012 12:47 PM   

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