Equine scintigraphy (bone scan) involves injection of a radioisotope and shows areas in the horse's skeleton where there is increased activity of the bone, which may indicate lesions. Horses are sedated for the examination. Images are acquired by a camera and then displayed on a computer screen, showing abnormal areas as ‘hot spots’. Indications for scintigraphy include lameness that cannot be localised using nerve and joint blocks, multilimb lameness and poor performance.
Scintigraphy can detect bony changes much earlier than radiography; therefore it is particularly useful in competition horses to diagnose stress-related bone injuries. Besides detecting lesions not identifiable by other imaging techniques, Scintigraphy can also help to establish the clinical significance of lesions detected by radiography, ultrasonography or MRI.
Both our gamma cameras are designed to enable quick and efficient acquisition of scintigraphic images of any area of the axial and appendicular skeleton in the standing horse, meaning no general anaesthesia is required. Research at the Equine Centre has pioneered its use, which has revolutionised equine veterinary practice.