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Has anyone had a bone scan done on their horse?

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  • Has anyone had a bone scan done on their horse?

    We started having some rearing/bolting when dismounting issues with our gelding recently and our vet believes he's in pain coming from his shoulder/wither/back on the right side, but we can't quite pinpoint the problem area. She said we could go to New Bolton to have a bone scan done to better determine where the issue is.

    Just wondering if anyone has had this done and if so, was it useful to diagnose the pain location?

  • #2
    Yep, I had a bone scan done on my TB and it solved the question- he had a stress fracture of the ilium (connection between pelvis and spine) as well as a previously broken rib. Explained everything, we had NO idea it was spinal/pelvic because he had stifle issues as well. I def. think its a good definative option, well worth the money to ID or eliminate diagnoses.
    Do not take anything to heart. Do not hanker after signs of progress. Founder of the Riders with Fibromyalgia clique.


    • #3
      I just had one done and if you have the $$ or insurance I would say go for it. The funny thing is where I thought he would "light up" he did not and where he did we can not find any problems when we flex the area under tack or on the line. My horse is not lame but I have always felt that in the last year or so something was "not quite right". I ride the horse six days a week and I did so right up to his scan as you really want the horse to be working so the muscles and joints are being used.
      So, I am no further along with any answer's but I certainly got a lot more questions now! Can you possibly get some digitals done on his spine and see if maybe he has "kissing Spines". I did find that my guy had it after the Chiro was mentioning the possiblity and my vet took a few digitals and there is was. Very clear. We injected it and I must say I noticed a big difference in his transitions and some throughness.
      The horse was dropped off at the clinic on Sunday afternoon,they scanned him the next day and he was cleared and left the clinic on Wednesday. It took a few days to get the reading of the scan and a few more days after that my vet got the pictures.
      Good luck and I hope I answered some of your questions. Oh yea, the price was $2400 for the full body and a few other things that I can not right now remember.


      • #4
        Not my horse but my friends horse yes. Had this strange NQR on a hind leg, no heat, no swelling, not sore to palpation, ultrasound was clean, vet was stumped. Sent him for bone scan and low and behold he had popped a splint in his hind leg that went in towards the suspensery instead of to the outside. Essentially is was rubbing the ligament which was no bueno! He had to have surgery and have that small piece of bone removed and was right as rain a couple weeks later. That is something we would have never found had it not been for the scan until something terrible happened like a severed suspensery.


        • #5
          I am in Raleigh right this minute picking up a horse from a bone scan. Everyone was sure he had something bad wrong in his back....the scan lit up his HOCKS!! He does not flex positive, xrays arent that bad, and he has cushings so cannot be injected with steroids. So, we are shockwaving his hocks tomorrow and going to see where that gets us.
          "You can't really debate with someone who has a prescient invisible friend"


          • #6
            Yes, I had one done on my former eventer.

            He had a constant, mysterious and mild lameness. We spent 9 months try to diagnose it. I had vet's tell me the problem was this shoulder, his hocks, and one vet who was adimant he wasn't lame but was just being really naughty!

            Bone scan reviled a hairline fracture in his pelvis and a bone spur. We probably never would have figured it out.

            My current mare is having some lameness problems right now, we're headed down in a week and a half to see the vet with the bone scan machine. Hopefully he'll be able to figure it out without doing the scan (they're pricey!) but if not, that's what we'll do.

            If you have the money, I'd say it's well worth doing once you've exhausted your other resources.
            Cascadia- OTTB mare. 04/04-05/10
            If love could have saved you, you would have lived forever


            • #7
              Yes, and it did help to pinpoint an issue in the collateral ligaments, confirmed by MRI. A partial scan was $800 15 months ago. A friend paid $1200 for a full scan a few months before that.
              The Evil Chem Prof


              • #8
                I did thermographic imaging on my horse instead, and is was $100 instead of $1000+. It was able to pinpoint the area that was the problem, then an xray confirmed a chip in the stifle.

                I would not hesitate to find a good thermography technician first before spending all the money on a bone scan, or involving insurance.
                On the Internet, nobody knows you're a dog


                • #9
                  Yup, just had one done on my mare a few weeks ago. I went to Kent Allen's in Middleburg. It was very helpful - we found arthritis in her back, an inflamed SI and her hocks actually lit up worst of all! She was always sound when hock flexion tests were performed, but apparently her hocks are fusing now. We injected the SI and had shockwave and mesotherapy done to her back.

                  We dropped her off on a Monday, she was scanned on Tuesday and I picked her up Wednesday. During the cold weather months, the vets usually want the horses at the hospital the night before the scan so they can regulate body temperature.

                  Best of luck to you and your horse, the scan was expensive but worth it!


                  • #10
                    This gelding?


                    Why the alter?


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by chaltagor View Post
                      cuz we wouldn't want anyone to know about the Lyme's, the huge vet bill they already posted about and a bunch of other things. They wouldn't be able to *retire* (as in give away) the wild, bucking, rearing, ill horse in need of a bone scan if someone knew would they?
                      I Loff My Quarter Horse & I love Fenway Bartholomule cliques

                      Just somebody with a positive outlook on life...go ahead...hate me for that.


                      • #12
                        My horse had a bone scan done last month when he turned up lame everywhere. Couldn't pinpoint exactly where the lameness was coming from because everything hurt. The bone scan was useful though because while a lot of stuff lit up, stuff that I thought would have lit up (i.e. SI joint) didn't. One of the hind legs lit up more than the other legs, so after a series of diagnostic blocks, the injury was localized to the suspensory, which was confirmed by ultrasound. Oddly the suspensory did not light up on the soft tissue portion. Would it have been easier to just start blocking him? Yes and no because we wouldn't have known what leg to start with!
                        The scan was not cheap though---fully body scan was $2200 and my horse was at the clinic for 2 days. Luckily it was covered by insurance.


                        • #13
                          I've had several of them done on several horses. In my case, they were helpful to rule out what I thought might be a problem in the back, but nothing lit up there.

                          In the OP's case, I would probably opt for one on just the back and neck. The more parts of the body they look at, the more expensive it is. Since the OP's horse does not show lameness in the limbs, I suspect the problem are in the spine/neck. If something shows up there on the scan, they will need to do radiographs. So...might as well do the radiographs first, and hopefully find the problem there and save yourself some money.

                          This horses' problem is not related to Lyme's. I'd bet my last dollar on it.

                          Why do you all keep snarking at this poster. She is under duress with this horse and obviously doesn't know where to turn. No wonder she needs an alter.


                          • #14
                            purp raises hand.
                            I think Boomer has every type of diagnostic image there is to offer over his lifetime. lol.

                            yes it is worth it with or without insurance.

                            you can easily spend 1500 bucks with stupid lameness exams that may or may not pin point the issue.

                            Bone Scan and MRI are dead on right. They are not opinion. : )
                            Horses are amazing athletes and make no mistake -- they are the stars of the show!


                            • #15
                              In my experience, the bone scan can be especially helpful if you just aren't sure where the problem is and are looking to narrow it down and then do further diagnostics. Like someone said happened to them, it is possible that a horse might "light up" all over and not really give you good information, or it might show only a few spots that, combined with anything else you've done diagnostically, allow you to go forward with treatment or diagnostics.

                              One horse was "funny" behind but even the best lameness vet around couldn't find the exact issue. Bone scan told us it was stifle, even though he flexed 100% sound on the stifles and hocks. X-rays showed some evidence of OCD in both stifles, then arthroscopic surgery located a piece of torn cartilage -- fixed that and horse came back ok (only to be felled by crappy footing a year later...he's retired now, but not because of the stifle). When flexing, the vets just couldn't exert as much pressure on that joint as the horse did himself, that's why we hadn't found it.

                              Another horse, we had a pretty good idea it was foot or suspensory, did bone scan rather than MRI as I was reluctant to put the horse under anesthesia -- bone scan told us foot, but not exactly what in the foot. Ended up doing MRI anyway and found damaged medial collateral ligament. He's recuperating at home after treating that. In the end, could have skipped the bone scan and went straight to the MRI, but it was all paid by insurance...and he did have a bad time with anesthesia, so I was on the right track trying to avoid it.

                              I have another horse that has this on again, off again lameness that never shows up the day the vet sees him. If it continues, he's a definite bone scan candidate as we really have NO idea where the problem is -- back, neck, hind end, feet?? But he's doing okay right now, knock on wood.


                              • #16
                                Bone Scan

                                A few years ago my friend has her mare scanned at Santa Anita. The cost was around $1200.

                                There is a fine line between "hobby" and "mental illness". - Dave Barry


                                • #17
                                  Originally posted by mroades View Post
                                  I am in Raleigh right this minute picking up a horse from a bone scan. Everyone was sure he had something bad wrong in his back....the scan lit up his HOCKS!! He does not flex positive, xrays arent that bad, and he has cushings so cannot be injected with steroids. So, we are shockwaving his hocks tomorrow and going to see where that gets us.
                                  I'm in the Raleigh area. Who did you use? If you dont mind my asking. Trying to see if anyone had a positive experience with the vet school, otherwise I was going to head up to VEI


                                  • #18
                                    Who does the actual bone scan is not the important part. What is most important is who reads the scans. When I lived in Southern California our vet had Dr Rantannan read our scans and Santa Anita perform the scans. He is one of the best equine radiologists in the world. Since I have been in North Carolina I had a horse scanned at NC State and Dr Redding, who studied under Dr Rantannan, read our scan and did a great job.


                                    • #19
                                      Originally posted by dmacaramel View Post
                                      Who does the actual bone scan is not the important part. What is most important is who reads the scans. When I lived in Southern California our vet had Dr Rantannan read our scans and Santa Anita perform the scans. He is one of the best equine radiologists in the world. Since I have been in North Carolina I had a horse scanned at NC State and Dr Redding, who studied under Dr Rantannan, read our scan and did a great job.
                                      True. While it is probably possible to mess up the scan by giving the wrong dose of radioisotope or mis-handling the detector machine (instrument??), the reading and interpretation is critical. My vet runs the Santa Anita facility and routinely consults with Rantannan not only on scans but also radiographs and ultrasounds if she wants a second opinion. She sent me down to Dr. Martinelli (also trained by Rantannan--do we sense a trend here) with Star because we needed an MRI in addition to the scan and he has capability to do both.

                                      My only advice having now been through a SECOND scan and MRI with the same horse since this thread started, is to get the whole horse scanned if you can manage it. It's not a lot more expensive and if I'd done that the first time we might have seen the neck issues in time to do more.
                                      The Evil Chem Prof


                                      • #20
                                        I just dropped my horse off at CSU today for a bone scan tomorrow -- back and hind end. We shall see...