In an Australian-first, The University of Melbourne’s equine clinic in Werribee will soon become home to a CT scanner designed to detect early signs of potentially serious injuries in racehorses.

The university, Racing Victoria (RV) and the state government announced last week they would invest $1.27 million to buy and build the scanner.

In a statement, Racing Victoria said the scanner would be “the first of its kind in Australia”.

“The scanner is designed to help in the early detection of limb injuries that have the potential to become serious or fatal,” the statement said.

“The state-of-the-art equipment is currently en route to Melbourne with all stakeholders striving to have it operational ahead of this year’s marquee spring races.”

Racing Victoria’s executive general manager of integrity services Jamie Stier said the CT scanner would be one of only three such machines in the world.

The scanner is part of a Racing Victoria initiative aimed at minimising serious injuries in racehorses, particularly international horses.

Racing Victoria, The University of Melbourne and the state government are also working on a $5.25 million Limb Injury Prevention Project, aimed at early detection and prevention of bone injuries in thoroughbred racehorses.

“The welfare of our participants, equine and human, is a priority for the industry and we are continually reviewing and exploring opportunities to further the safety of our sport which is not without risks,” Mr Stier said.