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Frequently asked questions

Your questions about PetVet 1.5T MRI answered

 

I’m interested in High Field MRI but can only imagine it's out of my price range. Can you please let me know the cost of the PetVet 1.5T MRI system.

 

We have made high field MRI affordable. This is because the Total Cost of Ownership is less than you may expect for high field MRI. With the PetVet 1.5T MRI you can either buy the system outright or you can rent it via a shared risk, Pay-As-You-Go model. You won’t need to build an RF shielded room and you won’t need helium refills. The PetVet has been designed to save on energy and we will keep it up-to-date as software upgrades are part of the comprehensive service and maintenance contract. Finally, unlike with complicated human systems, it’s not necessary to hire an MRI technologist to run our system. We can train your existing veterinary technicians/nurses to operate the system which will save a significant amount on labour costs.


Who else has a Hallmarq Veterinary Imaging MRI machine? I’d like to speak with some end-users.

 

We have 92 Hallmarq MRI systems installed in 23 countries. So, there are plenty of opportunities to find a veterinarian using our systems. Please contact us and we’ll provide a list of colleagues who would be delighted to speak with you. You may be interested to know that a recent (June 2017) customer service survey showed 100% of our customers rated us as excellent or good.

You may find in talking to our customers that one thing they appreciate is our ability to work with them as a team. Because our business is solely dedicated to the Veterinary Profession we are able to quickly react to questions and suggestions from our colleagues. For example, we have recently upgraded the software to allow veterinarians to alter parameters of the scan. So, there are now two levels of control. One is a basic, ‘push and play’ made for everyday use. The next level down allows veterinarians to tweak parameters as they wish. This change came about based on feedback from the profession.


I’m not sure I have enough space in my hospital for a high field MRI machine. How much room is required?

 

The simple answer is about 64 sq meters or 680 sq feet. The longer answer is that when designing a space for MRI systems there are many technical factors to consider, which is why we offer assistance from our own in-house architect during the design phase. The room size itself is determined more by the size of the 5 gauss zone (the red lines on the room drawings in our product detailer) than the physical size of the machine. You have to control the 5 gauss zone for health and safety reasons, and the easiest way to do this is to contain it all within the MRI room. If you cannot build a room of this size then there are other techniques that allow a smaller MRI room. We can advise you on these. We would be delighted to perform a feasibility study for you. Just send us a drawing of your hospital plans; there is no obligation for this service.


How good is the PetVet image quality?

 

We have had very positive feedback from numerous Veterinary Radiologists and Veterinary Neurologists from around the world. The PetVet is made specifically for companion animals and we have spent a great deal of time and effort designing veterinary specific coils which fit the anatomy of our patients well and therefore give some excellent images. We have 5 different coils including a 1-meter long V-shape spine coil which makes it very easy to image large breed dogs. This coil fits closely to your patients as they enter the MRI in dorsal recumbency thereby providing a 20% better signal than a flat bed made for humans. The PetVet also has the ability to run two coils simultaneously. This is especially useful for imaging areas traditionally difficult to reach such as the brachial plexus.

We have also written the sequences specifically for dogs and cats. We know that their body tissues react differently compared to humans and by designing the machine for your patients, we get great results.

But, please evaluate for yourself. We’d be delighted to send you some full studies in DICOM format. Just get in touch.


I don’t know much about Hallmarq Veterinary Imaging. What is the history of your company?

 

Nick Bolas is the co-founder of Hallmarq and the company started because of his love of animals and his expertise in the field of MRIs. Nick, a PhD level MRI scientist, saw the need for a standing equine MRI system that was not currently on the market and convinced people to invest in his idea. He developed the first standing equine MRI when many people said it wasn’t possible.

The product revolutionized equine lameness diagnosis because it allowed veterinarians to gain good quality images of the horse’s leg without the risks of general anaesthesia. Horses now need only a mild sedative to stand still enough for this non-invasive procedure.

In 2013 we took our expertise one step further and started developing an MRI system made specifically for small animals. Our world-class development team has worked on 3T and 4T human systems as well as our standing Equine system for many years so we were able to draw on years of experience when designing the PetVet.

In talking with veterinarians during the development stage, we understood that image quality; affordability and ease of use were paramount. These parameters were all taken into account when designing the PetVet and we now have a high field MRI system that provides quality images at an affordable price. We can train any veterinary team member to use it; you won’t need to hire an MRI technologist.

The PetVet has been installed in large multi-specialty referral hospitals in the US and the UK. Practice owners, as well as the specialists using the system, are very happy with the results.

We work in a busy practice and can’t afford to have the MRI not working. What is the Uptime percent of the Hallmarq PetVet system?

 

We pride ourselves on support and maintenance and are proud to say our uptime percent is 99.5%. This compares with typical uptime from other manufacturers of 98%.

Our aim is to provide proactive rather than reactive support so that your system will experience virtually no downtime. We have therefore designed the PetVet so that the machine sends a signal to headquarters every 5 minutes via its internet connection. This allows us to monitor over 100 parameters very closely and attend to problems very quickly. Indeed, we will probably have diagnosed and fixed a problem before you even know it's an issue. Likewise, we are able to log in and provide real-time support and coaching during a scan in case you have any worries. This technology is tried and tested having been used on over 85,000 animals in the last 16 years. Our aim is to keep the PetVet running and we are very proud of our track record.


Is this a used and refurbished magnet from the human medical industry?

 

No, this is a brand new, state-of-the-art magnet. It is in fact based on an FDA – approved human magnet that has been installed in over 200 human hospitals.  The magnet is manufactured according to our exacting specifications.  We then add our veterinary specific coils, patient bed, software, and sequences and build the PetVet; a unique product. PetVet is the only high field MRI system designed specifically for small animals.


We have thought long and hard about what high field MRI to get and we’ve decided on a PetVet. How long do we need to wait before scanning our first patient?

 

Provided that the practice is ready to receive delivery, it should take no more than 6 months between signing the contract and scanning your first case. The magnet must be assembled, shipped, installed, cooled down, and shimmed. We will have a team of MRI engineers on site for the process. After the magnet is installed, we’ll bring in a trainer to ensure your team is ready to use the PetVet. So, plan on about 23 weeks for the entire process.


As a practice owner, I’m concerned about the costs surrounding the acquisition of an MRI machine. Will I need to hire a specially trained MRI technologist to run the machine?

 

No. The PetVet has been designed for the veterinary industry and therefore one of your veterinary technicians/nurses can easily be trained to use the system. You will not need to hire an MRI technologist, which saves significant annual labour costs.

The other good news about time management is that you can scan a brain in about 30 minutes and a full spine in 45. This quick turn around leaves your team free to get on with other activities.

Finally, as a reminder, all the software is written for small animals. You won’t need to spend time altering and optimizing sequences for your patients. The PetVet is the only high field MRI machine designed for the veterinarian.

If you have further questions, please contact us: petvet@hallmarq.net