Bone scintigraphy in the investigation of occult lameness in the dog

T Schwarz, V S Johnson, L Voute, M Sullivan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


(99m)Technetium methylene diphosphonate (Tc-99m-MDP) scintigraphy was performed in 14 dogs of different breeds after clinical lameness examination, radiography and synovial fluid analysis failed to localise lameness to a specific area of pain. The scintigraphic protocol included an intravenous injection of 17 MBq Tc-99m-MDP/kg bodyweight and vascular, soft tissue and bone phase scans in standardised positions with a low-energy all-purpose collimator. Confirmation of diagnosis was Achieved in nine dogs by arthroscopy, repeated lesion-orientated radiography, computed tomography and response to treatment. In seven cases, bone phase scans showed single elbow uptakes, in two cases unilateral limb uptake, and in one case each a single shoulder and tibia uptake; in three cases there was no increased uptake. Vascular and soft tissue phase images did not reveal additional information. Diagnosis of humeral condyle fissures, a fragmented medial coronoid process, panosteitis and arthropathy was possible in nine cases. Skeletal pathology was ruled out in three normal scintigrams. In two dogs with unilateral uptake of multiple joints, no diagnostic benefit was gained from scintigraphy. The highly sensitive and relatively specific uptake allowed localisation and characterisation or exclusion of skeletal lesions in most dogs.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)232-237
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of Small Animal Practice
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - May 2004


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