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Mulino OR, 97042
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Nuclear Scintigraphy (Bone Scan) FAQ's

I am considering having a bone scan (nuclear scintigraphy study) performed on my horse. How long does the procedure take, and how is it performed?

Question: I am considering having a bone scan (nuclear scintigraphy study) performed on my horse. How long does the procedure take, and how is it performed?

Answer: Scintigraphy or "bone scanning" is a technology taken directly from the human medical field. A low-dose benign radioactive isotope is injected intravenously. The isotope has an affinity for inflamed/injured/remodeling bone. The actual scan is conducted hours after the isotope is injected. The bone scanner then "reads" the amount of isotope present in the bone and makes an image of the bones being evaluated. The picture looks like an anatomical silhouette where "darker" areas represent bone remodeling and/or inflammation.

In order to conduct the bone scan, the horse is required to stay in the hospital for at least 24 hours after the time it is injected. For this reason, horses scheduled for bone scans must arrive the day prior to the scan, or early on the day of the scan, and the horse stays in the clinic overnight the day of the scan. Frequently, any "follow-up" work (such as X-rays or ultrasound) is done the following morning.

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