Bone Scan or X-rays?

timbobs

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23 November 2014
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642
Am debating which course of action to take for Ed for diagnosis of his pain. He currently has a sore back, neck and is slightly lame on his left fore.

All of this has come up after medicating for hock arthritis in both hocks at the end of November.

Technically insurance *should* cover either as he doesn't have any exclusions, but they can't say for certain until after the results.

Any thoughts on the pros/cons of xrays vs. bone scan are much appreciated!
 

scats

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Bone scan will just highlight areas of activity. This can be useful in diagnosis to help pin point where the issue is (which is then usually x-rayed) but it can throw up ‘false positives’.
We’ve bone scanned a couple of horses. Both were causing lots of head scratching amongst the vets as to where the issue was coming from. Bone scans gave a very clear heads up in once instance, but was rather vague in the other, which only lead to more head scratching and lots of x-rays all over the place to try and determine the issue. They are quite pricey really and the horse will have to remain in isolation until the substance leaves their body.
 

timbobs

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Joined
23 November 2014
Messages
642
Bone scan will just highlight areas of activity. This can be useful in diagnosis to help pin point where the issue is (which is then usually x-rayed) but it can throw up ‘false positives’.
We’ve bone scanned a couple of horses. Both were causing lots of head scratching amongst the vets as to where the issue was coming from. Bone scans gave a very clear heads up in once instance, but was rather vague in the other, which only lead to more head scratching and lots of x-rays all over the place to try and determine the issue. They are quite pricey really and the horse will have to remain in isolation until the substance leaves their body.
Thanks for your reply :)

Did you think it was worth bone scanning? I am considering it as he seems sore in so many different places, I thought it might highlight the key issues to then dig further into but maybe x-rays of back and neck are the way to go instead.

Insurance will obviously only pay if they find something conclusive, and as you say it may not show much.
 

ester

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I think it depends if areas have clearly reacted to nerve blocking to target with X-ray. If not/it’s too high for that then scan is probably best start.
 

timbobs

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I think it depends if areas have clearly reacted to nerve blocking to target with X-ray. If not/it’s too high for that then scan is probably best start.
We haven’t done nerve blocks etc. yet, but vets wanted to start with either xrays or bone scan as he’s very sore in lots of places with no relief with rest, physio and acupuncture.
 

scats

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11 September 2007
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Thanks for your reply :)

Did you think it was worth bone scanning? I am considering it as he seems sore in so many different places, I thought it might highlight the key issues to then dig further into but maybe x-rays of back and neck are the way to go instead.

Insurance will obviously only pay if they find something conclusive, and as you say it may not show much.
Yes, I think it was in these instances, even with the one that was still a bit inconclusive. She was particularly difficult because she wasn’t lame and was flexioning fine, but there was just something odd about the way she was holding herself when she moved. They were trying to pinpoint whether it was a hock, back of sacroiliac issue mainly. It gave us areas to investigate.
 

pixie27

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18 August 2016
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My vet recently recommended bone scanning, but we opted to nerve block and x ray first as we thought we had a good idea of where the issues were. Found the two issues but he’s still unhappy so considering MRI for a better picture or bone scan to see if there are any other issues elsewhere. If your insurance will cover it then I’d go for it - will at least give you somewhere to look even if it isn’t the problem. Good luck and keep us updated - love following you and Ed.
 
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