Gifts in Action 2008
A New Gamma Camera Makes Lameness Diagnoses Easier
Thanks to a Generous Gift to the College of Veterinary Medicine
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
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
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