See the Future of Equine Medicine: A CT Scanner for Horses

To the average non-veterinarian, a CT scanner for horses may seem kind of silly—but the average non-veterinarian has never tried to get a horse into a traditional CT scanner. It’s a laborious, stressful process for everyone involved, especially the horse. In the future, it might not be necessary, thanks to a new immersive imaging system.

Rather than pushing a passed-out horse into a tube, Equimagine technology surrounds a standing, conscious horse with mobile robotic cameras. This does away with the need for anesthetizing the horse, which can be risky. Imaging an upright horse also provides more useful perspective, since they spend most of their lives standing up.

The University of Pennsylvania School of Veterinary Medicine is the first site to test one of the new scanners. “The reason this is so revolutionary is that the robots can easily move around the horse in any orientation,” medical director Barbara Dallap Schaer said in a press statement. “We can do the imaging in a patient that is standing and awake. From a clinical standpoint, we will see elements of the horse’s anatomy that we’ve never seen before.”

According to Dean Richardson, chief of large animal surgery at Penn Vet’s New Bolton Center, the veterinary school will use the equipment for teaching and as a diagnostic tool for its many equine patients. “One of the most important diseases of Thoroughbred racehorses is that they develop certain types of stress fractures that are very difficult to diagnose and characterize,” he said. “This technology has the potential to help diagnose those early enough that we can manage them and help prevent the horse from suffering a catastrophic breakdown on the race track.”

The future of this technology goes well beyond horses. People don’t exactly enjoy the traditional CT scan experience, either. Kids, much like horses, may need to be sedated in order to get them to lie still long enough for the cameras to do their work. In the future, says Dallap Schaer, “instead of a child having to be anesthetized, they could sit there on their iPad and talk to their parents and have the image prepared in 30 seconds.”

Header image from YouTube // Futurism

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Mark Ralston, AFP/Getty Images
How a Hairdresser Found a Way to Fight Oil Spills With Hair Clippings
Mark Ralston, AFP/Getty Images
Mark Ralston, AFP/Getty Images

The Exxon Valdez oil tanker made global news in 1989 when it dumped millions of gallons of crude oil into the waters off Alaska's coast. As experts were figuring out the best ways to handle the ecological disaster, a hairdresser from Alabama named Phil McCroy was tinkering with ideas of his own. His solution, a stocking stuffed with hair clippings, was an early version of a clean-up method that's used at real oil spill sites today, according to Vox.

Hair booms are sock-like tubes stuffed with recycled hair, fur, and wool clippings. Hair naturally soaks up oil; most of the time it's sebum, an oil secreted from our sebaceous glands, but it will attract crude oil as well. When hair booms are dragged through waters slicked with oil, they sop up all of that pollution in a way that's gentle on the environment.

The same properties that make hair a great clean-up tool at spills are also what make animals vulnerable. Marine life that depends on clean fur to stay warm can die if their coats are stained with oil that's hard to wash off. Footage of an otter covered in oil was actually what inspired Phil McCroy to come up with his hair-based invention.

Check out the full story from Vox in the video below.

[h/t Vox]

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Bristly
A New Chew Toy Will Help Your Dog Brush Its Own Teeth
Bristly
Bristly

Few pet owners are willing to sit down and brush their pet's teeth on a regular basis. (Most of us can barely convince ourselves to floss our own teeth, after all.) Even fewer pets are willing to sit calmly and let it happen. But pet dental care matters: I’ve personally spent more than $1000 in the last few years dealing with the fact that my cat’s teeth are rotting out of her head.

For dog owners struggling to brush poor Fido’s teeth, there’s a slightly better option. Bristly, a product currently being funded on Kickstarter, is a chew toy that acts as a toothbrush. The rubber stick, which can be slathered with doggie toothpaste, is outfitted with bristles that brush your dog’s teeth as it plays.

A French bulldog chews on a Bristly toy.
Bristly

Designed so your dog can use it without you lifting a finger, it’s shaped like a little pogo stick, with a flattened base that allows dogs to stabilize it with their paws as they hack at the bristled stick with their teeth. The bristles are coated in a meat flavoring to encourage dogs to chew.

An estimated 80 percent of dogs over the age of 3 have some kind of dental disease, so the chances that your dog could use some extra dental attention is very high. In addition to staving off expensive vet bills, brushing your dog's teeth can improve their smelly breath.

Bristly comes in three sizes as well as in a heavy-duty version made for dogs who are prone to ripping through anything they can get their jaws around. A Bristly stick costs $29 and is scheduled to start shipping in October. Get it here.

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