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World first in veterinary MRI to benefit large breed dogs

Hallmarq Veterinary Imaging has put into production a new one-meter-long v-shaped spine coil with different arrays that can be switched off and on. This unique design, which is a World first, allows the whole spine of a large breed dog to be scanned in one sweep without moving the patient.


Previously, in order to image the whole spine, the patient had to be repositioned. This can be difficult, potentially risky and time consuming, especially when handling large, heavy patients.

The coil design is being installed in Hallmarq’s veterinary specific PetVet MRI scanners for companion animals. Turning the coil sections on and off is done via the software using a highly innovative approach.

Dr Steve Roberts PhD is Technical Director at Hallmarq Veterinary Imaging, has over 25 years’ experience developing MRI systems and was instrumental in developing the new coil, “While we use many of the elements of a human MRI – for instance we use a 1.5 Tesla superconducting magnet – we feel it is very important to listen to veterinary specialists and identify where the needs are when it comes to creating high quality images of veterinary patients.

“As our only focus is on veterinary imaging we will continue to develop ground breaking technology to meet those specific needs.”

The new coil has 16 receive channels and extends over 100 cm in length. The shape and length of the coil makes it optimal for large breed dog spine imaging for conditions such as intervertebral disc disease (IVDD). It means that when scanning large dogs, the patient bed can simply be moved along and appropriate coil elements are selected to image the whole spine without having to move the animal on the coil.

In 2015 Hallmarq Veterinary Imaging won two major awards for innovation – including a Queen’s Award for Enterprise and an Institute of Physics award. The v-shaped coil design previously perfected by the company and now used in this longer coil, not only makes patient positioning easier, it also increases the coil sensitivity by more than 20% compared with an equivalent ‘flat’ spine coil of the type that is typically found in human MRI scanners.

The long v-shaped spine coil also helps to produce images of hard to view areas and can be used in conjunction with a flexible coil over the chest of the dog for optimal imaging of the brachial plexus region.

The new coil will come as standard in all new PetVet MRI scanners and existing scanners will also be able to use the longer coil. For further information, visit