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Johns Hopkins begins using high-tech equipment on pets

With the Center for Image-Guided Animal Therapy, Hopkins joins the ranks of veterinary schools, specialty veterinary clinics and even stand-alone imaging facilities that offer such high-tech services to pets.
It's an unusual arrangement, given that Hopkins is not affiliated with a vet school. But it melds with the institution's research mission, officials said. In re-purposing technology normally used for animal studies, the center's doctors can help pets immediately, and both animals and people eventually, as they see more naturally occurring disease and trauma.

The MRI, CT and PET scans are pricey, costing $2,000 and up, money that is used to offset the cost of research, equipment and staff. And while not considered a big moneymaker for the university, the services could draw some business away from the region's specialty veterinary clinics, even if Hopkins doesn't ramp up significantly from the 10 or so pets seen each week.

The costs may put the imaging out of reach for some pet owners, the center's leaders acknowledge, though the amount people are willing to spend on their animals continues to grow. The American Pet Products Association estimates that pet owners will spend more than $60 billion in 2015, including almost $16 billion on vet care.
Hopkins officials have begun collaborating with human researchers and specialists in developing diagnostics and treatments that could benefit both pets and humans.

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