Dr. A. Kent Allen is a 1979 graduate of the University of Missouri College of Veterinary Medicine. He founded Virginia Equine Imaging in the fall of 1996 following the sale of his Arizona Equine Medical and Surgical Center. That same year Dr. Allen successfully coordinated the veterinary services for the Olympic Committee at the 1996 Olympic Games held in Atlanta, and was named Arizona Equine Practitioner of the year. Dr. Allen finds time to serve as Chairman of both the USEF Veterinary Committee and their Drug and Medication Committee. He also serves on the Medication Sub Committee for the Federation Equestre Internationale (FEI). He served as the FEI Foreign Veterinary Delegate for the 1999 Pan American Games in Winnipeg, Canada and the 2000 Games at Sydney. Currently, Dr. Allen was the 2010 World Equestrian Games Official Veterinary Coordinator. For the 2012 Olympic Games in London, he is the Foreign Veterinary Delegate.
Dr. Allen's vision in establishing Virginia Equine Imaging was to create a specialty lameness, sports medicine, pre purchase exam and state of the art diagnostic imaging practice which provides a close personal touch for his clients and their horses. The practice is limited to the previously mentioned aspects of equine practice to include the pre-purchase exam.
This innovative clinic was the first of its kind in private equine practice. Since 1996 several other lameness/imaging centers have been established around the nation. The functional aspect of this unique practice is founded on the concept of a detailed physical exam based on careful observation of movements of the horse and palpation of soft tissue injuries. The exam then expands into selected imaging technology which the referring veterinarian in consultation with Dr. Allen and his staff consider appropriate. High-resolution digital nuclear scintigraphy is an often-requested examination that can help pinpoint areas of bony inflammation. When coupled with the physical exam, scintigraphy can localize subtle abnormalities. Once localized, other imaging technologies and/or diagnostic nerve blocks are utilized to confirm significant pathologies. The imaging center is supported by an excellent cadre of referring veterinarians. Dr. Allen and his staff stay in regular touch with the referring veterinarians via phone, email (including image transferal), follow up and detailed letters of physical and diagnostic imaging findings. Excellence in imaging continues to be a hallmark of this unique practice.
Diagnostic ultrasonography focuses on musculoskeletal imaging with frequencies as high as 17 MHZ, for superficial structures such as tendons, ligaments, collateral ligaments and joint structures. Specialty probes exist for the foot, navicular area, and musculoskeletal pelvic exam as well as for ultrasound guided injection and blocking techniques.
The first direct digital radiology (DDR) unit in veterinary practice was installed at VEI in 2002. A portable DDR unit followed in the summer of 2003, to provide high-resolution digital radiology to referring veterinarians and clients. After interpretation on high-resolution computer screens, the DDR images are uploaded over the T-1 line and sent via email, burned to a disk or printed to film for evaluation by the referring veterinarians.
The latest imaging technology to be added to the armamentarium is that of magnetic resonance imaging (MRI). In a unique partnership with Marion Dupont Scott Equine Medical Center, Dr. Allen and his staff operate the EMC magnet two days a week to help identify focal areas of pathology in the equine foot, fetlock, carpus and tarsus. This technology allows resolution of edema in both bony and soft tissue structures that were previously very difficult to image.
Further imaging technologies include high-resolution infrared thermography used to pinpoint focal areas of surface temperatures that represent inflammatory changes in joints and tendons beneath the skin. Dr. Allen and his staff find this approach particularly useful in tendon rehabilitation.
Sports medicine treatment techniques include high-energy focused shockwave therapy that has proven useful in treating enthesopathies, arthritic conditions and many back injuries.
Mesotherapy has also proven useful in treating many injuries of the axial spine. It has become a valuable tool for treating arthritis of the dorsal articular facets and dorsal spine impingement.
The clinic holds one Advanced imaging seminar a year, featuring some of the top speakers in equine sports medicine in the world. It has been our pleasure to host one of four advanced imaging sessions held in the United States each year by The International Society of Equine Locomotor Pathology (ISELP) with Dr. Jean Marie Denoix as the main speaker. This series enables us to provide top imaging education in the United States, while allowing yet another avenue of showing our appreciation to referring veterinarians.
Dr. Allen is supported by an exceptionally talented technical and administrative staff who keeps up with the mountains of paperwork and diagnostic images generated on a day-to-day basis.
Dr. Susan Johns is an experienced associate who has taken a USEF Team abroad for the Singles Driving World Championships. She is experienced in all aspects of Sports Medicine Diagnostic Imaging and was instrumental in the setup of both the Digital Radiology and MRI programs here at the clinic.