New as of 2022, we are excited to introduce nuclear scintigraphy, also known as bone scan, to our sports medicine services. Bone scan is an advanced diagnostic procedure for evaluating abnormalities of the skeletal system and some soft tissue attachments to the bone. It can be helpful in localizing problems not found through typical modes of examination.
How it Works:
A radioactive material (having the equivalent radiation to a chest x-ray) is injected intravenously. The material binds to bone, especially in areas of inflammation such as arthritis, fractures, areas of trauma, and where tendons and ligaments have inflamed attachments to bone. The scintigraphy machine’s large scanner head (1.5′ x 2′) is positioned on multiple areas of the horse. The machine creates images of the skeleton revealing areas of high uptake of the radioactive material. The images are interpreted for localization of potential problems.
When is it helpful?
- When routine lameness examination with nerve and join blocks have not been able to localize the cause of a lameness
- Hard to evaluate areas such as the neck, back and pelvis
- When a lameness has been localized with no results from x-ray or ultrasound
- Evaluating the skeleton when poor performance or behavior is a problem without overt lameness
- Multiple limb lameness
- Severe lameness when a fracture is suspect
- Intermittent lameness
Bone Scan allows for evaluation of the whole skeletal system. It is more sensitive than x-rays for showing bone inflammation. Although it is a wonderful tool, there are cases where it does not reveal a problem.
If you think your horse may benefit from nuclear scintigraphy, give us a call to discuss your horse’s condition in more detail.