Advanced Imaging Center

At Alamo Pintado we employ the latest and most advanced in equine diagnostic imaging technology available. The various modalities that we offer can be used individually or in combination to provide a superb insight to the possible source of lameness or pain.

Gastrointestinal Endoscopy
Digital Radiography

Standing MRI
Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI)
Nuclear Scintigraphy (Bone Scan)
Upper Airway Endoscopy
Computed Tomography (CT)


Understanding Equine MRI

Nuclear Scintigraphy (Bone Scan)

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Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI)

Developed in 1978 and expanded in the 1990s, MRI has been the gold standard in human medicine for diagnostic imaging of orthopedic, brain and soft tissue injuries. MRI utilizes a strong magnetic field (30,000 times as strong as the Earth’s magnetic field) to orient the atoms of the body. By changing this field temporarily, these atoms react and emit radio waves which are detected and interpreted by a computer to create the image. No radiation is used and there are no known side-effects to the use of MRI at this field strength in the horse.

A state of the art, high field (1.5T) Siemens Magnetom Espree, has been installed in a customized facility at Alamo Pintado Equine Medical Center. In use for over 10 years, this system allows for effective, time efficient imaging of orthopedic, soft tissue and head/brain pathology of the horse.

Reading & Interpreting an MRI

Just as important as obtaining quality imaging with MRI is who reads and interprets the images. At Alamo Pintado, each MRI is read by two experts in the field, Drs. Carter Judy and Travis Saveraid. Together, Drs. Judy and Saveraid have performed or read thousands of MRIs over many years in practice. Dr. Judy lectures on MRI around the world and performs several MRIs each week at Alamo Pintado's custom imaging facility.

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The Physics of MRI

Magnetic Resonance results from the effect of magnetic properties of atoms found in tissues.  Atoms consist of a nucleus containing both protons and neutrons.  Electrons orbit the nucleus resulting in a spinning motion that is specific to each element.  Since hydrogen is the most common element located within the body of mammals, it is the element with the most recognizable and useful magnetic moment.  When an animal is placed in a strong magnetic field, the magnetic spins which are normally randomly oriented align in the direction of the magnetic field.  A short pulse of high energy radio-frequency is applied and this disrupts the alignment of the hydrogen atoms.  As the atoms re-align in the magnetic field they emit a very small radiofrequency wave that is captured and interpreted as the signal from the tissue.  This is then transferred to a computer which transforms the raw data into a two dimensional representation of the tissue.

Computed Tomography (CT)

CT provides thin, cross-sectional images which appear as “slices.” These slices are then stacked together to create a three-dimensional image. By using x-rays to produce multiple images, the tool gives our team more detail than conventional radiographs. CT imaging is especially useful because it allows for views of all types of tissue, clearly showing bone, muscle and blood vessels.

One of only three units of its kind in being used in equine veterinary medicine in the US, our team utilizes this advanced portable BodyTom® full-body, 32-slice CT to accurately explore issues within the equine head and neck and to examine complicated dental issues. This CT unit is also used to analyze fractures and other injuries to bones and joints of the distal limbs and to assist in the planning of complex surgeries.

Dr. Carter Judy


Dr. Judy is an international authority in MRI, bringing an unmatched level of expertise to Alamo Pintado Equine.  Dr. Judy supervises and reads each MRI performed at Alamo Pintado, ensuring the highest accuracy.  With a far-reaching understanding of equine imaging, Dr. Judy is able to apply that knowledge to his surgical work, creating more successful outcomes for patients.

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Meet Dr. Travis Saveraid, DVM, DACVR

Dr. Saveraid received his Doctor of Veterinary Medicine degree from Iowa State University and completed his radiology residency at Washington State University, where he had extensive training in equine and small animal MRI. He is board certified by the American College of Veterinary Radiology and is currently a clinical faculty member at the University of Minnesota College of Veterinary Medicine where he is developing the equine and small animal 3T MRI clinical investigation program. He serves as an interpreting MRI radiologist at Alamo Pintado Equine, working together with Dr. Carter Judy.