Magnetic Resonance Imaging offers a far more detailed view of the structures within the horse’s leg and particularly the foot. An MRI machine is essentially a large magnet; the machine is so strong it polarises hydrogen atoms within tissues of the body and interprets the signals produced in response to this magnetisation. These signals can be altered when the tissue is injured and these changes can be used to localise the cause of lameness or injury.
MRI is indicated in many cases of equine lameness but particularly for soft tissue injuries of the lower limb and foot including traumatic foot penetrations and diseases of the navicular bone and associated structures. It is also very useful for diagnosis of bone injury of the pastern and fetlock region.