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Nuclear Scintigraphy (Bone Scan)

Experts at the Equine Medical Center perform nuclear scintigraphy on horses to evaluate suspected abnormalities in bones and joints. The center has been using this imaging technology since 1995.

In 2021, a Medical Imaging Electronics (MiE) nuclear scintigraphy equine scanner was installed, providing advanced mechanics, electronics, and software that produces unparalleled scans of bone and soft tissue. Fast and quiet during operation, the MiE scanner has inbuilt real-time motion correction, which ensures high-quality images, even if the patient moves during image acquisition.

Benefits of nuclear scintigraphy

  • Bone scans can check the entire skeleton for abnormalities, including fractures or trauma that may go undetected using other imaging modalities.
  • Bone scans are particularly effective in helping to diagnose difficult lameness issues.
  • Our whole body scan captures 46 images, which provide a highly accurate picture of the areas of pathology within the horse's skeletal structures.

About the procedure

  • Bone scans are performed as inpatient procedures and require your horse to stay in the hospital for a minimum of two nights.
  • The morning following admission to the hospital, a radioactive isotope is injected into your horse's jugular vein, and the scintigraphy process begins.
  • You cannot touch your horse for 24 hours post-injection or until s/he is cleared of the radiation by our imaging team.
  • The day after the procedure, the attending clinician may continue with additional diagnostic testing, such as ultrasonography and radiography that may be needed to make a specific diagnosis.

Appointments and referrals:

To schedule an appointment, refer a patient, or inquire about our diagnostic imaging or other clinical services, please call 703-771-6800 or email

Marion duPont Scott Equine Medical Center in Leesburg, VA, Virginia-Maryland College of Veterinary Medicine. Diagnostic Imaging Services, Nuclear Scintigraphy