We will obtain a full history pertaining to the region to be imaged from your veterinarian, and results will be reported to your veterinarian as soon as they are available (this can vary from case to case). We maintain the relationship of the primary care veterinarian and patient as our utmost priority, so we ask that you direct your questions regarding image interpretation, results and treatment to your regular veterinarian. Please see our FAQs page for additional information.
Over 30,000 horses have been scanned in Hallmarq Standing MRI systems, and Advanced Equine Imaging of Wellington introduces the FIRST standing MRI to South Florida. After obtaining a thorough history from your referring veterinarian, a horse is admitted to our facility for imaging, which takes about an hour a region. So if both front feet are to be imaged, the total study time is about 2 hours. Sometimes imaging has to spaced out over a few days to accommodate all regions to be scanned. Horses can go home immediately following the MRI, once the sedation has worn off.
Standing MR imaging is ideal for soundness issues that have been localized to a specific region of the distal limb, and radiographs and ultrasound have been unable to determine a specific cause. For example, bone bruises will not result on changes on an x-ray, but can cause significant performance issues, and are best identified on MRI.
NUCLEAR SCINTIGRAPHY (Bone Scan)
Nuclear Scintigraphy, commonly referred to as a “bone scan”, is a way to identify regions of increased boney cellular activity of the horse. This can be especially useful in cases where the lameness may be referred to areas that are difficult to look at with other modalities, such as the sacroiliac, spine, and neck. Under light sedation, the horse is injected with a rapidly-decaying radioactive isotope that circulates through the body and attaches to areas in which bones are actively remodeling. A special camera and computer then measure the radiation that has temporarily bonded to limbs or vertebrae, discovering what we know as “hot spots”.
The most common use of a bone scan is in those cases in which nerve blocks fail to localize lameness, or in which lameness is localized but x-ray findings are negative. A bone scan can often find a hot spot in its earliest stages, before a lesion has developed sufficiently to appear on x-ray—and when treatment can be most effective. If your horse has a vague, unresolved lameness or history of poor performance that may be orthopedic in origin, nuclear scintigraphy may be the next step in finding an answer. Horses do have to stay overnight following nuclear scintigraphy due to the injection of the isotope.