© 2019 by Peninsula Equine Medical Center

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Bone Scan

Nuclear scintigraphy is a great diagnostic tool for those horses who have the 'mystery lameness'! This can include any horse that you can have trouble blocking to a specific region, just doesn't feel right under saddle, showing overall poor performance, or has a multiple limb lameness. It helps the doctor figure out where there is active inflammation in the horse - this is done by injecting the horse with a low level radioactive Isotope, which binds to areas of high bone turnover. We inject them in the morning, it takes 3 hours for the isotope to fully penetrate the bone, and then we scan them in the afternoon. The horses are mildly sedated and stands in front of our 2,500lb Gamma Camera for approximately 4 hours, while we take pictures of their body. Those images gathered are then processed, and used in conjunction with the provided history to give the doctor areas of interest related to the lameness.

Types of Scans

We have the option to scan the front end of the horse, the hind end or a horse, or even the whole body if there is a multi leg lameness involved or a general poor performance where the cause has a completely unknown location.  Unlike many of the limitations of other imaging equipment, our nuclear scintigraphy machine is equally able to explore neck, back and pelvic issues as it is able to assess distal limb issues.  A conversation with your veterinarian can help delineate the best type of exam for your horse's issue.

Things you need to know about scheduling a bone scan

  • Your horse will need to be dropped off the day before the scan

  • Your horse will receive an IV catheter and will be mildly sedated during the procedure.

  • Your horse will need to stay 2 days after the scan because they will be considered radioactive until then. This means they cannot come out of their stall, or have visitors inside their stall.

  • After two days of isolation, your horse will no longer be radioactive, and will be ready for any further diagnostics or therapeutics recommended based on bone scan findings.


Menlo Park

100 Ansel Lane

Menlo Park, CA 94028


Gilroy Gaits

7777 Frazier Lake Rd

Gilroy/Hollister, CA 95023


Mailing Address: PO Box 7297, Menlo Park, CA 94026


8:30am to 5pm

Monday through Friday