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Willows Invests £400,000 To Bolster Industry-leading Service

10 months ago

26th July, 2019 16h32

Linnaeus Group

One of the country’s top veterinary referral centres has invested almost half-a-million pounds in new state-of-the-art technology as it continues to lead the industry in diagnostic imaging.  

Willows Veterinary Centre and Referral Service, in Solihull, has invested more than £400,000 in a cutting-edge Siemens CT scanner, which will enable its team of six Specialist Radiologists and clinical staff to access real-time images anywhere in the building.

The animal hospital, which is part of the Linnaeus Group and celebrates its 30th anniversary later this year, has one of the largest and best-qualified imaging teams in the veterinary industry.

Led by Head of Diagnostic Imaging Andrew Parry, an RCVS and European Specialist in Veterinary Diagnostic Imaging, the team at Willows includes Ines Carrera, Sally Griffin and Elizabeth Baines, all of whom are RCVS and European Specialists; European Specialists Luis Mesquita and Anne Staudacher; resident in training Phillipa Weston and Radiographer Andrew Tanner, who graduated in Diagnostic Radiology from King’s College London and spent 13 years working as a radiographer in the NHS before moving into the veterinary sector.

Dr Parry believes the new equipment, a Siemens Somatom go.All which is now up and running, is the first of its kind in a UK veterinary environment and will be utilised to excellent effect by his team.

He said: “We have one of the strongest imaging services in the country, with a team of six board-certified specialists on site. We also have a fully-qualified radiographer with 27 years’ spanning both NHS and veterinary medicine.

“The depth and breadth of such experience and specific training puts us in a very privileged position and is a real benefit to our service at Willows.

“It is a huge advantage to have studies conducted by a radiographer who is trained specifically to perform such a task and Specialist Radiologists on site to examine images in ‘real time’, so protocols can be modified as studies are conducted.

“Another advantage is that if further interventional studies are required, for example, ultrasound-guided biopsy of a lesion discovered on CT, as a result of what can be seen in the scan, these can be undertaken at the same time, rather than requiring a second visit from the client to the hospital, which can save valuable funds and lead to a quicker diagnosis.

“Our previous CT scanner was excellent but all technology moves on. We wanted to ensure we maintained our position at the forefront of Specialist veterinary diagnostic imaging.

“We have a large cardiology service and the Siemens scanner, with its advanced cardiac imaging package, will allow the team to gain a huge amount of information about cardiac disease and other vascular abnormalities. This combination of technology and on-site Specialist imaging expertise is unusual, even at a referral level.

“A further advantage of the new scanner is its use of tin filters, which enables it to produce high quality images of regions of high contrast, such as feline chests.”

Dr Parry added that, while the scanner is an extraordinary technological advance for the hospital, Willows has also invested in a software package which will allow its team to get the best from the technology.  

He said: “The syngo.via software allows anyone to access and manipulate images from any computer in the hospital. This can be building complex models or more straightforward multiplanar reconstruction.

“Specialists can show models to clients immediately, while surgeons can manipulate images in theatre and all clinicians can view and interact with images from their own working environment.

“Additionally, we have invested in Siemens-manufactured software called syngo.via Cinematic VRT, which means we can build, rotate and fly through volume rendered CT models with clients, giving them a dynamic understanding of anatomy and pathology.”

To find out more information about diagnostic imaging at Willows, or for more on any of its 13 specialist services, visit

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