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*If you are having a bone scan performed on your horse, please fill out the bone scan form located in the "Client Forms" sections of our website!!*
Here at Virginia Equine Imaging we most commonly use nuclear scintigraphy in the form of bone scans. Bone scans offer highly sensitivite detection of boney changes in a way that allows our veterinarians to evaluate the entire equine skeleton. Whole body scan capability makes nuclear scintigraphy the ideal tool for diagnosing difficult or multi-factorial lameness. Bone scanning is an imaging modality that emphasizes physiologic evaluation of bone metabolism. A bone scan can be more sensitive then radiographs and detecting small or new musculoskeletal changes that effect the boney inflammation pathways. Due to their level of sensitivity, bone scans can reveal a source of lameness that was not diagnosable with previous modalities of imaging. VEI provides state of the art nuclear medicine technology complete with motion correction software.
Frequently Asked Questions Regarding Nuclear Scintigraphy:
Q: When Should I consider nuclear scintigraphy for my horse?
A: Bone scans are used to identify physiologic information that cannot be discerned by other imaging methods. A few examples of cases that may benefit from bone scans are as follows: Poorly performing competition horses with no evident lameness, severe lameness with undiagnosed origin, multiple limb lameness, suspected fractures with no radiographic evidence, lameness that has been localized to a particular region where no radiographic or ultrasonographic evidence, chronic ongoing lameness that previous forms of treatment have not resolved.
Q: How is the bone scan performed?
A: Upon arrival at the clinic, the patient’s legs are wrapped and the horse is placed in a heated stall. The following morning the patient is injected intravenously with the short acting radio-isotope, Tc 99 MDP. This isotope is linked to bone tracer agent that facilitates isotope uptake in regions where boney metabolism is active. If appropriate, the horse is exercised on the lunge pad in order to evaluate the lameness and increase peripheral blood flow for isotope distribution. Following lounging evaluation, the patient is stabled in a secure stall for approximately two hours while the radio-isotope circulates throughout the horse's body. During the scan the patient is put under standing sedation and imaged with our gamma camera. Areas of bony inflammation are indicated in the computerized images as areas of increased radio-isotope uptake. After the scan is completed one of our highly trained veterinarians will read the images and record all findings from the scan. The horse must stay in clinic for a minimum of 24 hours after the initial isotope is injected. The following morning any work up indicated by what was seen on the bone scan will be performed.
Q: How long does the procedure take?
A: A typical whole-body bone scan requires two hours for systemic isotope uptake and three to four hours after systemic uptake to complete the imaging process. Scans may take longer due to patient’s behavior, or if any additional images are added to the imaging protocol. We can perform partial hindlimb or forlimb scans that take less time. Readings of the scan are often not competed and charted until the late evening or early the following morning. After reviewing the images, the doctors devise the best plan for more extensively working up the lameness including: additional nerve blocks, intra-articular injections, digital radiographs, ultrasound, etc. Prior to the work-up and therapeutic treatment, the owner will be contacted to discuss the bone scan findings and further diagnostic options. The horse cannot be released to the owner any sooner than 24 hours after the isotope injection because the horse is still radioactive.
For appointments call 540-687-4663.
Dr Allen and his associates are wonderful. I told my barrel horse for a second option with his navicular issues. To soon to see if it will work but the knowledge this man has. well worth the trip.
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