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A busy summer for new mobile CT scanner

Published Wednesday, 14th June 2017 in Veterinary Services news

CT Scanner

The new mobile CT scanner run by SRUC faces a busy summer on the road.

Following their recent appearance in Strathpeffer at the HighlandSheep 2017 event the scanner, in its purpose built trailer, will be travelling as far as the southwest of England  providing livestock breeders, processors and researchers with unique insights into meat yields, fat distribution and other traits important for breeding programmes.

During July and August the unit will be seen in Aberystwyth, Dorset, Devon and Warwickshire, as well as its home base in Edinburgh. In addition to scanning the animals presented by breeders the team will be explaining what they can offer at promotional days planned for NSA Sheep Southwest at Tiverton on June 20th , the former Royal Show ground at Stoneleigh on July 3rd and Aberystwyth University on 28th August.

Jointly funded by SRUC and CIEL (Centre for Innovation Excellence in Livestock), one of the four Agri-Tech Innovation Centres supported by UK Government, the new multi-slice scanner is fast, capturing 16 images at once. It not only collects more detailed information about the subject but, because of its speed, offers improved welfare as the live animals spend less time in the process, compared to previous CT scanners. It can also generate 3-D images offering new ways to measure traits linked to the animal’s composition, conformation and shape or product quality.

CT scanner with sheep


SRUC’s Animal and Veterinary Sciences group has operated a scanning service for the last two decades. While they are best known for their work with pedigree sheep they have also worked with live farmed salmon as well as plants, soil cores and even meat joints. They want to expand those services.

Nicola Lambe, Sheep Geneticist who manages the CT unit, said: “The sheep sector knows us well. Owners of key breeds of pedigree terminal sire sheep regularly submit their selected stock to help evaluate the best rams to breed from for meat yield, optimal fat levels.  However the technology could be just as useful to the pig sector for example. Many other researchers might be interested if they knew of our existence, for example those studying obesity in domestic pets.”

Photo caption 1: the new mobile CT scanner. 

Photo caption 2: the new mobile CT scaner in action. 

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