New equine lameness service available at UF

Gainesville, FL - 4/25/2008

A new clinical service at the University of Florida Veterinary Medical Center offers horse owners full-time expertise in the area of equine lameness and imaging.

“We provide referral MRI procedures to veterinarians and their clients,” said Dr. Matt Brokken, a board-certified surgeon who graduated from the UF veterinary college in 2003 and subsequently completed a residency in equine surgery and sports medicine at Washington State University.
He returned to UF in early 2008 to head up the equine lameness and imaging service at the Alec P. and Louise H. Courtelis Equine Hospital.

“My goal is to be a constant presence and to serve the referral community better by being available as a resource whenever these kinds of cases come in,” Brokken said.

The new service will provide information about the use and advantages of equine magnetic resonance imaging as well as providing evaluations of images from other MRI units upon request.

“Horses that come to our facility now have access to imaging technology comparable to what is available for human patients,” said Dr. Eleanor Green, chairwoman of UF’s department of large animal clinical sciences and chief of staff of the large animal hospital. “Our own patients will benefit significantly from our enhanced diagnostic capabilities, but in addition, veterinarians throughout Florida and beyond can refer their patients and clients to us to have images taken and interpreted to complement their own diagnostic procedures.”

Brokken has extensive experience with the use of equine MRI, as well as with the diagnosis and treatment of equine orthopedic injuries.

MRI produces highly detailed images, which are obtained in multiple planes of bone and soft tissue, and can examine any portion of the horse’s body that will fit into the aperture designed for people. In adult horses, this includes the foot, fetlock, suspensory ligament, carpus, hock and head. In foals, the entire body can be imaged.

The MRI imaging technique can help determine the specific causes of lameness, allowing practitioners to make appropriate treatment recommendations.

Brokken also researches a new surgical therapy for proximal suspensory ligament injuries and has used MRI to monitor healing of the ligament after treatment.

He works closely with UF veterinary radiologists and said he is excited about the imaging technology UF has to offer, which in addition to MRI, includes CT, nuclear scintigraphy, digital radiography and ultrasonography.

“I believe our expertise with the MRI is second to none, and while we already have the only high-field strength magnet in Florida, an upgrade is already on the way and is expected to arrive within the year,” Brokken said. “That will increase our capability even more.”

The upgraded magnet will speed up examination time and will provide higher-resolution images, Brokken said. The MRI upgrade is expected to be implemented by next March and a new CT table for horses is coming soon as well.

“This advanced diagnostic imaging technology is enhanced by the expertise that surrounds it,” Brokken said. “Our comprehensive approach is supported by a team of veterinary specialists, including board-certified surgeons, internists, radiologists, anesthesiologists and many others. Here at UF, we have everything that anyone would want to diagnose and treat a horse, and we can do it all in one place.”

That aspect of academic veterinary medicine is a large part of what attracted Brokken to the job.

“Being at this university allows me to practice at the highest level, and I’m very excited for the opportunity to return to my alma mater,” Brokken said.

Receiving days for the equine lameness and imaging service are Tuesdays and Thursdays and surgeries and MRI examinations are generally performedtake place on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays with the exception of emergencies.

Horse owners, trainers, referring veterinarians and others seeking more information or who wish to make an appointment with the equine lameness and imaging service should call 352-392-2229.


University of Florida veterinarian Matt Brokken examines a horse's leg outside the
Alec P. and Louise H. Courtelis Equine Hospital. Brokken’s new Lameness and Imaging Service
will offer a new resource to all horse owners and veterinarians wanting diagnostics,
treatment or consultation on lameness cases.
Photo by: Sarah Kiewel, Staff Photographer


For more information on the University of Florida Veterinary Medical College, please visit



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