MRI and CT are advanced imaging techniques where a three-dimensional image is obtained of both the bone and soft tissue.

Our vet assistant Sarah Jooken and Evi Clerckx guarantee high-quality images and excellent guidance. Marieke Zimmerman (Dip ECVDI-LA) is responsible for the interpretation of the images.


An MRI is a technique that uses a magnetic field to image the lower limb of the horse. The scan is carried out on a standing, sedated horse. Soft tissue injuries in the foot, such as, for example, injuries to the deep digital flexor tendon or the collateral ligaments, can be clearly identified with a standing MRI. Moreover, MRI is the only modality that enables us visualize bone oedema, a very common problem of the navicular bone , the subchondral bone of the joints or the third metacarpal bon at the origin of the suspensory ligament.


At VIA NOVA we have a large bore CT, this is a CT with an extra large opening. This has the great advantage that, in addition to the neck, we can also image the first vertebrae, the shoulders and the pelvis (including sacroiliac and lumbosacral joints).

CT of the head is done on the standing sedated horse, for CT of the neck and legs the horse is placed under general anaesthesia. CT gives us a very detailed three-dimensional image of the bone and, with the aid of contrast, also of the soft tissues.

A CT scan of the head can be used for horses with teeth problems, sinusitis, swellings in the head and/or neurological symptoms. As this scan is carried out in the horse standing, the horse is ready to go home about one hour later.

A CT scan of the neck is used for horses with neck stiffness, performance problems, unexplainable front leg lameness and ataxia. For ataxic horses a myelogram with injection of contract material can be used to detect compression of the spinal cord.

Images can be obtained of the legs of the horse up to the shoulder on a front leg, and up to the hip on a rear leg. This enables identification of injuries to the bone and soft tissue that are not visible using traditional methods. Moreover, using our high-speed CT scanner, it is possible to obtain a picture of the complete leg, or even several legs, for horses with multiple problems in 1 or more legs.


X-rays provide us with a two-dimensional image of your horse’s skeleton. Using this technique, we can chart osteoarthritis and osteochondrosis (OCD) of the joints, and also bone cysts, fractures/fissures in the bone, etc. We can also identify enthesopathies; these are lesions on the bone surface at sites of ligament and tendon attachment, such as e.g. at the origin of the suspensory ligament. We can also obtain high-quality images of the neck and back with our powerful X-ray machine.


Ultrasound enables us to obtain images of the soft tissue. Using these images, we can identify injuries of the tendons, ligaments and muscles, but also inflamed joints (synovitis) and cartilage can be partially visualised with this technique. An internal (transrectal) echography of the pelvis can provide us with more information on the sacroiliac and lumbosacral joints. Another important application of echography is the delivery of ultrasound-guided injections; using this method we can inject medication very precisely at the required location.

Ultrasound Tissue Characterisation (UTC)

UTC is the latest application within the field of ultrasonography. With this technique a specialised program makes an analysis of the scanned tendon to chart its quality. At present this technology is only used in the cannon bone region
It provides added value when following up tendon injuries so that during rehabilitation we can determine when the load on the tendon can be increased. UTC also plays a role in preventive medicine as weaker zones in the tendon can be identified at an early stage and injuries can then be prevented.
It can also provide additional insight into the horse’s health in a pre-purchase examination.