Information for horses having Scintigraphy

• Owners need to arrive with their horse the afternoon before their appointment or by 08:30am on the morning of the scan (or by special arrangement at other times). Most horses will need to have a full examination before the bone scan is undertaken. There is no need to starve the horse prior to admission.

• To improve the quality of the images obtained, the horse should be kept in work during the preceding 2 weeks prior to being admitted, unless your vet advises against this.

• Shoes have to be removed for bone scans unless the exam is focused on the neck, back and/or pelvis.

• Unless we are advised to the contrary the horse will be lunged on the morning of the scan and then stable bandages will be applied.

• A small patch on the neck will be clipped and cleaned and an intravenous catether will be placed to allow injection of the radioactive drug and sedative drugs during the procedure. Please inform us if you have any objection to the horse being clipped.

• Horses are injected with the radioactive drug intravenously between 10.00 am and 1.00 pm on the day of the scan and are ready to be scanned 3 hours later. Once injected the horse becomes radioactive. As a result of the radioactivity the horse is confined to a Controlled Area (ie a normal stable) for 48 hours after the injection and owners are not permitted to visit the horse during this period.

• The scan is performed under standing sedation (ie not general anaesthesia). Dependent on the regions to be scanned and the temperament of the horse, the procedure can last anything up to one and a half hours. It is not possible for owners to be present for the scan due to radiation safety rules.

• Once scanned the horse is taken back to its stable and left for the radioactivity to decay.
Approximately 24 hours after the scan, further work-up such as X-rays, ultrasound or nerve blocks may be performed to follow up any abnormal findings from the bone scan. Owners will be advised when to come and collect their horse subject to progress with further investigations.

• The very strict procedures in place are to minimise the exposure of staff to radiation and are a legal regulation requirement. This is necessary as we perform more than 100 bone scans per year. The single dose of radiation that the horse is exposed to during the procedure poses no known risk to its health.