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Nuclear Scintigraphy

Nuclear Scintigraphy

Nuclear scintigraphy, also known as a bone scan, provides us with a screening tool to locate areas of increased metabolic activity in soft tissue or bone which may indicate a site of injury. Bone scans involve the administration of a radioactive substance to the patient which then localizes in specific organs depending on the chemical form of the isotope. A special camera, called a gamma camera, is used to detect the distribution of the radioactivity within the patient’s body. This study allows us to image the entire horse in cases of subtle lameness or poor performance where an exact source of pain is difficult to identify. Scintigraphy does not replace other diagnostic tools but can provide additional information in hard to image areas and it may identify areas of increased metabolic activity that do not present with changes on radiographs or ultrasound images. Once areas of increase uptake are identified, then further diagnostic techniques combined with other imaging modalities must be pursued to determine the clinical significance of these findings.

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