Highlands & Islands

CT scans to 'improve' Scotland's sheep stocks

Sheep and CT scanner Image copyright SRUC
Image caption A sheep entering SRUC's CT scanner

A medical CT scanner is being used to identify the best sheep for breeding.

Scotland's Rural College (SRUC) hopes its new mobile scanner will help to improve Scotland's sheep stocks.

Using low dose x-rays, the scanner produces images showing muscle shape, internal fat and pelvic shape of live animals.

SRUC's sheep geneticist Dr Nicola Lambe said the scans could help indentify "attributes" that produce the best lambs for meat.

Image caption The CT scanner is the same as used in hospitals
Image caption The scanner uses low dose x-rays to measure the muscle and tissue of live sheep

Dr Lambe told BBC Alba: "The scanner is the same as you would get in a hospital and it is usually used for medical purposes.

"But we use it for CT scanning sheep.

"The interesting thing is that you can look at all the different body tissue and organs.

"We can use it to select the top animals for breeding with."

A number of pedigree sheep breeders have already made use of the mobile scanner to check for their best animals.

Image caption SRUC's mobile scanner

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