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World’s 5th equine CT scanner inaugurated in the Üllő Campus

The Department and Clinic of Equine Medicine of the University of Veterinary Medicine Budapest has gained a CT scanner that is one of only five in the entire world. Purchased for HUF 280 million, the cutting-edge, high resolution diagnostic instrument was inaugurated in the Üllő Campus on 22 February by Minister of Innovation and Technology Dr. László Palkovics, UVMB’s Rector Prof. Dr. Péter Sótonyi and Head of the Equine Medicine Department and Clinic Prof. Gábor Bodó. The ceremony was also attended by Dr. Gábor Náray-Szabó, the Chairman of the board of Marek József Foundation, Gyula Dallos, Ministerial Commissioner for Equestrian Culture, and Prof. Dr. Levente Kovács, the Rector of Óbuda University.

“This is a special event in Hungary’s equestrian life that we can inaugurate this standing equine CT scanner, thanks to the support of the Excellence Programme,” said Dr Péter Sótonyi in his speech. This is just the 5th instrument of its kind in the world – none of which are outside Europe! The nearest one is operated in Switzerland, 1032 kms from here. Thanks to the development projects, our Equine Medicine Department and Clinic has become the leading equine medicine clinic in the region. Besides the financial income, the hard-earned professional reputation also means that even more horses (often worth a fortune) will be brought to the University for treatment. This project is a major step for Üllő, which is situated next to the airport and the highways, to become a national equestrian centre.

UVMB’s Rector was also proud to note that experts working abroad can now be brought back to Hungary.

Such outstanding clinicians as Dr. Gábor Bodó surgeon, Dr. Annamária Nagy-Schuller tot Peursum lameness specialist and associate professor Dr. Zoltán Bakos internal medicine specialist returned to Hungary from Switzerland and England, respectively, to bring more international fame to our clinic. They treat patients, conduct their research and teach students here. In addition to the appropriate conditions, their Hungarian nationality was also a factor in their homecoming. The number of patients has nearly doubled since Gábor Bodó came back to the alma mater.

Due to its 90-cm diameter, the CT allows for the examination of the front and hind legs of horses in sedation. The instrument can provide an excellent image of the pelvis of horses as large as 600 kg.

As the first part of his lecture held in the clinic’s grand hall, Dr. Péter Sótonyi presented a CT image of a front leg in a standing position to diagnose a problem occurring above the fetlock joint. Then he projected a scan of a hind leg with an arthritis presumably caused by a dislocated hock. The participants could also see some images of standing head and neck examinations as well as the neck and back vertebrae, the hip and the hindquarters. The scanner allows you to diagnose cases where X-rays are not sufficient.

The rector also announced that the University was able to lease a Hallmarq standing MRI scanner from England last October. There are few of these even in Western Europe, while if you want to go eastward to find one, you need to travel as far as Istanbul for an examination like this. To highlight an example of the instrument’s many applications, the head of the institution mentioned the examination of severe injuries affecting the deep digital flexor tendon.

Minister Dr. László Palkovics said it didn’t take long for him in 2014 to be convinced that Hungary should have an independent University of Veterinary Medicine again. It was a rational and necessary step to grant this opportunity to the internationally acclaimed institution.

The head of the Ministry for Innovation and Technology believes the new CT scanner may have moved UVMB up a step in the ranking list. He confirmed that the government was adding a subsidy of HUF 69 billion to the university’s own funds for the campus enhancement.

The minister noted that Hungary’s higher education system had seen the beginning of several changes over the past six years. Due to the new economic management structure, universities began operating in a different way. The consolidation of these changes resulted in the model upgrade which UVMB was among the first to implement. In his view, the university, having been freed from the constraints of the central state budget, is already feeling the benefits of foundation-based operation. He also said that they wanted to allocate HUF 1500 billion to the Hungarian universities during the new EU budget cycle, which is nearly five times more than the funds in the previous period. In addition, the state keeps raising the research budget, which enabled UVMB to purchase the equine CT scanner, too.

Exceptional achievements require exceptional means, that’s why the Ministry has provided a funding of HUF 450 million for the University of Veterinary Medicine as part of the excellence programme for the area. The amount was partly used for purchasing the new cutting-edge, high-resolution CT scanner which allows for examining horses in a standing position and without anaesthetics. The remaining sum will be allocated to the institution’s veterinary research.

The minister also explained that the Hungarian government was going to introduce a new three-pillared higher education financing structure, which considers the differences of the various higher education activities. Besides the headcount-proportionate reimbursement of education costs, the structure will also allow the institutions to get an earmarked financing scheme for their research activities and infrastructure maintenance. The scheme will be funded through three long-term contracts, so the foundation-based operation and the new financing system will contribute to improving the competitiveness of Hungarian higher education institutions.

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