Bone Scans ...the good and bad (also in Vets)

NR99

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Hi

Sorry to post in hear as well as Vets but seem to be more people on board in NL.

As title says really, I have read quite a few posts where bone scans have not worked just wondered if anyone had any positive experiences where they have been useful as a diagnostic tool.

Basically our TB was showing signs of pain suspected Sacriolac/Pelvic problem, but on lameness work up showed lame in all 4 legs. Vet said if she had to put money on it, it would be sacrum or hock related but as there is so much to look at she thinks a bone scan would work out more cost effective than repeated nerve blocks.

Insurance will not authorise payment without a diagnosis and vet says needs scan to diagnose, so think I will bite the bullet and pay for it myself, but would be grateful for feedback good or bad.

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Fransurrey

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Sorry, can't help, but that's ridiculous that the insurance won't pay for a diagnosis!!! Which company is it? I'll make sure I avoid them!

(Please don't say Scottish Equestrian!)
 

NR99

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Hi, it's KBIS but I should have said it relates to an excusion on the policy vets say it is quite common and they have agreed that if he is diagnosed and it does not relate to exclusions they will look at it without prejudice.
 

Booboos

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My vet did a bone scan of the back when the horse was lame behind and we could not find a reason. The scan was clear, so it did not show up a problem, but at least it allowed us to eliminate the back as a source of a problem.

If you do have to pay for it yourself, shop around! Call up different vet centres, prices vary a lot and make sure the quote you get includes everything, e.g. livery, VAT, etc. I would pester the insurance a bit though to see if your vet could change their minds.
 

lauraandjack

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Posted also in Vet thread!

The principle of bone scanning is that the horse is injected with a short acting radioactive isotope into the vein. First of all it is absorbed into the muscle and other soft tissues so depending on what suspicions your vet has they may decide to image the 'soft tissue phase.' If they are interested more in bone then the horse is put in the stable for a period of time to allow the isotope to reach the bone. Then they can be scanned for the 'bone phase.'

The idea behind it is that areas of the body that are damaged and undergoing active repair absorb more of the radioactive isotope than non damaged areas. The horse is scanned with a gamma camera (under sedation, it's a bit scary for most horses and the camera is vv expensive!). The results are interpreted by computer to give you a coloured picture of the horse. The brighter the colour, the more isotope has been taken up in the area, giving you so-called 'hot spots.'

Scintigraphy doesn't show you what the problem is, but it can help guide your vet to the likely problem area which is particularly helpful for difficult areas like the sacroiliac joint which is hard to assess in other ways. Obviously joints that are under a lot of stress such as the hock have constant bone remodelling going on and will also have increased uptake (but then again many horses have complex problems involving more than one area!)

Obviously some horses decide that they do not have any particular 'hot spots' so this is where a bone scan may be not so useful. This is maybe especially true for very longstanding cases where the repair mechanisms of the body are probably not so active.

Your horse will need to stay in at the clinic for a day or 2 while the radioactivity subsides.

I would probably go for the scan as your horse seems to have different problems going on, it may just help your vet to decide what is the most significant problem.

Hope this helps.
 

Eira

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Sol had a full body bone scan back in March . As far as I am aware the hot spots they picked up pointed them straight to the problem in her feet. They still had to xray to diagnose but it was definitely a worthwhile thing
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NR99

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LaurandJack thanks that really makes it clearer, was not sure what scan was what (have been through several human ones but none ever called a bone scan).

ISHY - Thanks for your reply it was helpful.

Makes me feel happy to authorise it and see where we get.
x
 

Newmarket

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Hi,

I had exactly the same from my insurance (NFU!) they normally very good, but insisited that the bone scan report was required before they would say weather they would pay or not, my mare had her back, pelvis and both hinds done.

It showed 2 hotspots one in the sacriolac region and one in her hock, she now having time off as this problen had been going on a little while and we are now giving her the year off, ( we put her in foal
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) although when she comes back up into work vets have said that she can be injected so should be able to carry on competing but we will see.

Insurance did pay out so good result but i was shocked at there attitude!!
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NR99

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Sounds just like ours, I have bitten the bullet and booked it in for next Monday, hopefully they will pay out on the diagnosis but if not at least we may further along with trying to sort him.
 

merlinsquest

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Merlins was done and paid for by NFU..... I wanted it to make sure there was nothing else other than the wrecked fetlock to worry about!!!

It showed up hot spots in....

Wither ??? Dont know why
Hocks..... Spavins treated as result
All four pedal bones... put down to concussion as we are on very stoney ground
Right SI joint inflamed ... result of the left hind fetlock arthritis...

Fetlock showed like a beacon ..... just showed that he has arthritis which we knew from x rays!!

So all in all it didnt really diagnose anything useful, but did show that he didnt have kissing spines or anything that they would have other wise have missed
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I felt it worthwhile
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