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Scintigraphy (Bone Scanning) Information

Your horse/pony has an appointment at B&W Equine Hospital for a bone scan. 

  • Bone scanning uses a radioactive isotope called Technitium99m (Tc99m) which emits gamma radiation.  This is bound to another compound that attaches to bone.
  • Gamma radiation carries a similar radiation risk to that of x-rays.
  • Your horse will be admitted to the hospital the day before bone scan is scheduled to take place.
  • If appropriate, your horse will be exercised gently prior to being injected with the radioactive isotope.  This helps increase the uptake of the radioactive isotope within the skeleton enabling us to produce better images.  Lunging is not performed if there is a specific request not to, and/or if there is a concern that a fracture may be present.
  • Your horse will be injected with a radioactive isotope at around 10-11am on the morning of the scan. 
  • Your horse will then be scanned approx. 2 hours later using a special camera, called a gamma camera.  This detects the radioactivity coming from the skeleton and a series of images are produced. This enables us to detect ‘hot spots’ (regions of increased radioactivity) that may be considered abnormal.
  • Once the scan has been carried out your horse will return to his/her stable and has to remain in that stable until midday of the following day.  Unfortunately you are unable to visit your horse during this time.  This is due to safety regulations with regard to the use of radioactive materials.
  • We will contact you regarding the findings of the bone scan once it has been carried out.  If your horse has been referred we will also contact your vet.
  • If further investigations (e.g. lameness work-up, radiographs etc.) are indicated, and/or requested by your vet, then these cannot be undertaken until after midday of the following day.
  • If your horse is being discharged from the hospital with no further work up he/she cannot leave the hospital 48 hours following injection of the isotope.
  • Your horse will be stabled on straw. Please inform us, in advance, if your horse cannot be stabled on straw for whatever reason (i.e. respiratory disease).
  • If you have any further concerns or queries regarding the bone scanning process then please do not hesitate to contact us at the hospital and we will be happy to answer any questions that you may have.

Download the info sheet PDF here:

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