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Sarah Puchalski, a board certified radiologist to read our Bone Scans and can usually have a report within 24 hours of the completion of the scan. Bone scintigraphy is the most commonly performed nuclear medicine scan in horses and is indicated in a variety of skeletal disorders because of its high sensitivity and the ease at which the entire skeleton can be imaged. Nuclear scintigraphy represents images of physiology. This contrasts with radiography, which represents images of morphology.


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Nuclear scintigraphy Bone Scan can detect diseases that alter physiology before there are morphologic changes in structure. Since there is often a lag period of days before morphologic changes in bone density, a bone scan can detect bony abnormalities earlier, thus providing better case management. Although nuclear medicine is more sensitive than other imaging modalities, it is often less specific.


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Specificity of bone scintigraphy has advanced with improvements in image quality and increasing experience in clinical interpretation. Nuclear scintigraphy is able to detect problem areas that may not be apparent on radiographs or ultrasound.

Equine Scintigraphy at the RVC

Nuclear Scintigraphy shows changes in the metabolic activity of soft tissue and bone. It uses a radioactive marker that is injected intravenously into the horse and images are obtained using a gamma camera. Areas of increased metabolic activity appear as hot spots on the images. Nuclear scintigraphy, also referred to as a bone scan, is able to detect problem areas that may not be apparent on radiographs or ultrasound.

Diagnostic Imaging

It can assist in diagnosis of horses with multiple lameness concerns. Bone scans do not replace other diagnostic tools, rather it provides additional information to facilitate a diagnosis.

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