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Universal Medical Systems of Ohio Introduces 'Charlie,' World's First Portable, Battery-Operated, Multi-Slice CT Scanner for Pets

SACRAMENTO, Calif., Sept. 15 /PRNewswire/ -- When Ralphy, a six-year-old beagle from Sacramento, needed comprehensive diagnosis to help generate insight into the sudden near paralysis of his rear legs, Dr. Robert Richardson of Campus Commons Pet Hospital, Inc. turned to his newly installed "Charlie," the world's first fully portable multi-slice CT scanner for pets.

(Photo: )

(Photo: )

Ralphy, a normally active, lovable dog who is the delight of his owners, suddenly began showing signs of being in acute pain and having trouble walking, and a quick and accurate diagnosis became necessary. It turned out Ralphy was suffering from a lumbar disc rupture.

"Ralphy had come to us after a one-day course of increasing pain and weakness in the hind limbs," says Dr. Richardson. "Our studies indicated the need for decompressive surgery of the spinal cord at L2 and L3. Ralphy was wobbly but up on his feet again within six days, I am happy to say."

Dr. Richardson, a noted veterinarian specializing in surgeries of the spine as well as orthopedics, obtained the Charlie CT scanner from Universal Medical Systems, Inc. of Ohio (UMS of Ohio).

Universal Medical Systems is the leading worldwide supplier of innovative veterinary computed tomography (CT) and magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) systems. Campus Commons Pet Hospital, in which Dr. Richardson is owner and president, had acquired the Charlie system just one week prior to Ralphy's emergency, and in so doing it became the first veterinary hospital in the nation to offer Charlie to its patient animals.

"In this particular case," says Dr. Richardson, "we were able to scan Ralphy in just a few minutes time and then generate a diagnosis immediately. We, thus, were able to progress into surgical corrective procedure very soon after the diagnosis.

"We conducted the usual Myelogram to correlate and support the Charlie scan," says Dr. Richardson. "I felt the Myelogram was necessary to support the Charlie diagnosis since this was our first time using the system, let alone for a spinal application. We were very pleased with the comparative data. Charlie delivered a magnificent, beautiful series of images of Ralphy's lower lumbar region. I can honestly say we were mesmerized by the results."

According to Dr. Richardson, soon thereafter, Chloe, a female Homeward Bound-rescued golden retriever presented with an ear infection. Dr. Richardson was able to determine, through the Charlie scans of the seven-year old retriever's auditory canal anatomy and middle ear, that he could save the middle ear function without concern for abnormal contents within the bulla.

Also, a third case occurred in the first two weeks Campus Commons Pet Hospital acquired the Charlie and it involved an eleven-month-old Rottweiler female with an obscure lameness.

"Plain X-rays had been taken and reviewed by a veterinary radiologist without diagnosis," says Dr. Richardson. "Our new Charlie scanner displayed that she had two tiny chips in her elbow, a common discovery in lameness of large breed dogs during their rapid growth phase. We were able to take care of this problem quickly and this young dog is now on the mend and has a very good prognosis."

The compact, mobile Charlie offers most of the features of large, stationary CT scanning units being utilized in either temporary or permanent veterinary hospitals, according to Dr. Richardson. "It is simply more portable and easier to use," he adds.

According to David Zavagno, president and CEO of Universal Medical Systems of Ohio, there is no other high-tech diagnostic CT imaging system that is as portable and affordable for pets.

"Charlie eliminates the prohibitive costs of power installations, leaded rooms and climate controls and represents a savings of $30,000-$50,000 for starters," Zavagno says.

Charlie offers the veterinarian a compact, lightweight, portable, high-speed, battery- and 120-volt-line powered system while generating advanced multi-slice high resolution images (up to eight CT slices per revolution) in a customized 12-inch pet-focused aperture.

Charlie also provides for contrast study protocols such as CTA and CTP, which become extremely valuable in making diagnoses. And, since the Charlie is a fraction of the size and weight of a traditional fixed scanner, limited installation is required.

A veterinarian or technologist can be trained quickly to conduct a CT study on the Charlie system. A study, in fact, can be initiated with the touch of a few panels.

Interestingly, Dr. Richardson, who has his own small vineyard in the backyard of his Sacramento-area home, decided he'd try to scan some grapes and later a rose. He says the images "were truly artistic in detail and resolution."

While Charlie was not designed for artistic applications, Dr. Richardson says he'd like to show his fellow doctors in his local veterinary association these results.

"As I said, we are just starting to put Charlie to use at the hospital. My staff and I are taken by what this system will do and at the very high quality of the scans produced."

More About Charlie

"Charlie" is a small pet-dedicated (i.e., dog, cat and others), non-destructive CT application of NeuroLogica's CereTom(R), a compact, lightweight, portable, high-speed, battery- and 120-volt-line powered multi-slice CT scanner that generates up to eight slices per revolution.

About Robert Richardson, DVM

Dr. Richardson is a 1975 graduate of the University of California-Davis School of Veterinary Medicine. He specializes in dogs and their surgeries of the spine and orthopedics needs. He is an owner and president of Campus Commons Pet Hospital, Inc. located in Sacramento, Calif.

About Universal Medical Systems, Inc. of Ohio

Universal Medical Systems, Inc. (UMS) of Ohio is the leading innovative supplier of veterinary computed tomography (CT) and magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) systems worldwide. Headquartered in Cleveland, Universal Medical Systems, Inc. offers medical, industrial and research imaging systems from desktop CT scanners to ultra high field three-tesla MRI scanners. An affiliated network of research, development, sales and service teams supports every Universal scanner. For more information visit: and

SOURCE Universal Medical Systems, Inc. of Ohio
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