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Bone scans are a sensitive but non-specific imaging modality.  The technique uses bone seeking radionuclides that accumulate in bone lesions.  Images display areas of increased uptake of the radionuclide in the bone  commonly called "hot spots".  The accumulation of isotope indicated increased activity and blood flow  to the area.   The concentration of activity does not describe a specific pathology.   Radiographs generally require a 30% decalcification of bone to visualize a lesion.   Bone scans view bone tissue in the cellular level potentially enabling earlier visualization of a lesion.  The radio- active compounds are injected directly into the horses' jugular vein.  The primary rays are detected, enhanced and collected by a sophisticated network of electronics which produce an image.  The images can be viewed on a monitor, transferred to film or printed.

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Obscure or switching leg lameness
Negative or ambiguous radiographs
Occult fracture
Difficulty in localizing affected area
not lame enough to block
flexion tests equivocal
anesthetic blocks are negative
Minimal or no change with medication or other previous treatments
Visualization of areas of the skeleton that are difficult to radiograph
e.g. Pelvis, hips
General survey
As part of a pre-purchase exam
To track overall skeletal health
Degenerative disease
Exercise related trauma
Assessment of significant x-ray findings
Vascular abnormalities
Bone tumors, cysts or abscesses





Copyright 2001 University of Pennsylvania School of Veterinary Medicine
Faculty Sponsor: Dr. Michael W. Ross
Technologist: Vivian S. Stacy CNMT
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