Nuclear scintigraphic evaluation of the distal tarsal region in normal horses

Murray RC, Dyson SJ, Weekes JS, et al.

Vet Radiol Ultrasound 2004;45:345-351.

Bone-phase scintigraphy is sensitive to the dynamic process of bone modeling and remodeling, which may be adaptive or pathologic. Our knowledge of normal patterns of radiopharmaceutical uptake (RU) is limited, making interpretation of images problematic. It is therefore important to characterize normal patterns of RU at specific sites and relate these to age and exercise, to ensure valid interpretation of images in clinical cases with subtle lesions. This study aimed to characterize patterns of uptake of radiopharmaceutical in the distal tarsal region in clinically normal horses, and to investigate the effects of age and work discipline. Retrospective evaluation of nuclear scintigraphic images of the distal tarsal region of 30 clinically sound, high-level show-jumpers and lower-level riding horses was performed. All images were acquired dynamically as a series of 35 two-second frames, which were then motion corrected and summated. The images were assessed using vertical and horizontal profile analysis across the distal tarsal region, and regions of interest comparisons between the distal tarsal region and tibia within each horse. There was a repeatable pattern of RU across the distal tarsal region in both horizontal and vertical directions. There was significantly greater RU on the dorsal compared with plantar aspect, and lateral compared with medial aspect of the distal tarsal region. RU in the right distal tarsal region was significantly greater than in the left. Elite showjumpers had significantly higher RU ratio compared with the lower-level riding horses, but no significant alterations in the pattern of RU were detected.