In the horse, nuclear scintigraphy is primarily used in the diagnostic evaluation of musculoskeletal abnormalities. With the help of a radioactive pharmacon inflammatory processes will be illustrated via a gamma camera.

The distribution of the radiopharmacon is recorded directly after i.v. injection and about 2 hours later. Directly after injection (poolphase) the radiopharmacon is distributed in the vascular system and in the extracellular space. Hyperemia as consequence of inflammation alters the distribution of the radiopharmacon in the early phase. About 2 h after injection the radiopharmacon is metabolized to the bone.

The Bargtheide Equine Hospital is experienced over a long period of time due to the first scintigraphy system to be used in the standing horse (since 1996). 15 horses can be examined per week.

Common indications for scintigraphy:

  • Misbehavior when being ridden with suspicion of neck and back problems
  • Suspicion of fissures or fractures without radiographic findings
  • Unspecific or high grade lameness
  • Suspicion of tooth root diseases
  • Suspicion of suspensory origin diseases without ultrasonographic findings (insertion desmopathy)
  • Control examinations of the above mentioned diseases
  • Clarification of vasculary disorders
  • Joint diseases without radiographic findings
  • Uncooperative patients where local nerve blocks are not possible


With scintigraphy we are able to examine the whole musculoskeletal system or just special areas of interest. In many cases scintigraphy can depict bony changes earlier than radiography, and therefore more sensitive.

Images are acquired in the standing horse. One day later findings indicative of bony inflammation are anatomically localized, graded, and compared with digital radiographs, ultrasonography or MRI before patient treatment.

Due to radiation protection reasons horses have to be stabled for at least 3 days.

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