College of Veterinary Medicine |
advance featured stories 2010

Healthy Animals, Healthy People, Healthy Planet

The WSU Veterinary Teaching Hospital Has a New CT Scanner

Sep 25, 2010, 10:58 AM by Kelly O'Brien
Thanks to Dear Friends of the College

by Marcia Hill Gossard '99, '04


Horse CT 1
“Tari,” a 10-year-old registered Quarterhorse mare, undergoes a spiral CT scan to examine a mass
near one of her carotid arteries.

Last spring, the WSU College of Veterinary Medicine installed a new, upgraded spiral computed tomography (CT) scanner for use in both small and large animals thanks to a very generous donation from Joseph T. Mendelson Sr. and his wife Barbara of Santa Barbara, California.

“We knew that a CT scanner would help everybody for a long time,” said Joe Mendelson. “I’ve been around horses my whole life and the old CT scanner wasn’t adequate for what the veterinarians are doing at WSU.”

More than a decade ago, Joe and Barb Mendelson’s dog “Scout” was treated by WSU alumnus Dr. John Oplinger (’79) at the Wickenburg Veterinary Clinic in Arizona. The Mendelsons were so grateful for the wonderful care Dr. Oplinger gave Scout, they wanted to give back to his alma mater. And they did just that. Their first gift to WSU in 1997 started a cancer fund in Scout’s name, and they have been supporting the college ever since. In 2010, the Mendelsons made an extraordinary donation when they gave the college the funds to purchase a 16-slice spiral CT scanner.

Speed is one of the main features of the CT unit, and the imaging is produced in a variety of planes as well as in three-dimensional representations of anatomic structures. Small animals, such as cats and dogs, can often be imaged in the new CT scanner in seconds, in many cases without general anesthesia. With the faster speed, many more horses can also be scanned each year.

10-Mendelson
Barb and Joe Mendelson

“Before the new CT, we only imaged a few horses a month, but now I would expect to do 10 times that,” said Professor John Mattoon, a board certified veterinary radiologist and chief of WSU’s diagnostic imaging section. “The new CT is truly state-of-theart with brand new software that greatly improves its capabilities.”

Horses are too large to fit entirely in the CT scanner, so only the head, upper neck, and lower limbs are imaged. For smaller animals, the entire body can be scanned, and is especially useful for examining the lungs and abdomen.

For the Mendelsons, WSU has a special place in their hearts. Although neither attended WSU (Joe almost came here in the 1950s on a basketball scholarship) or have had a pet treated at the Veterinary Teaching Hospital, they have become loyal Cougars and dear friends of the college. Their current veterinarian in Santa Barbara, Dr. Ron Faoro (’81), is also a WSU alum.

“Seems we have a lot of connections to WSU,” said Joe Mendelson. We’re glad they do.

Washington State University