Nuclear Scintigraphy (Bone Scan) for the Horse - PDF Document

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  1. Nuclear Scintigraphy Equine Lameness & Imaging Service University of Florida Nuclear Scintigraphy (Bone Scan) for the Horse What is nuclear scintigraphy? Bone Scan involves: Nuclear scintigraphy, or bone scan, is a diagnostic tool used to localize orthopedic conditions such as bone fractures, joint inflammation, osteoarthritis and other injuries that may cause lameness. It is especially useful in areas that are difficult to image with traditional modalities such as radiographs (X-rays), including the neck, back and pelvis. y Administration radioactive isotope to the horse that targets and labels bone throughout the skeleton. of a benign Example image from bone scan. The dark indicates area of increased radioactive isotope uptake. y Skeletal imaging using a special camera, called a gamma camera. What does nuclear scintigraphy do? y Identifying problem areas that have increased or decreased isotope uptake, which are seen as “hot” or “cold” spots on the images. Nuclear scintigraphy captures images of the horse’s skeleton using a gamma camera that detects a benign radioactive isotope given intravenously. The radioactive isotope travels to bone and abnormal uptake and is detected as “hot” or “cold” spots. Uptake of the isotope helps pinpoint sites of injury or problems. Is nuclear scintigraphy safe for my horse? Nuclear scintigraphy is used to help localize a lameness issue. Yes, it is safe for your horse and is a relatively short procedure lasting only a few hours. The radioactive isotope is benign. The isotope decays 97% in 30 hours, so horses are able to leave the day following the procedure. VM188 Author: Alison Morton, DVM, MSpVM, DACVS, DACVSMR Updated 3/13 Fact sheet provided by the University of Florida Large Animal Hospital For more information, visit or call 352-392-2229