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Diagnostic Imaging – Which One Is Best? An EMC series


Diagnostic imaging techniques for determining lameness in horses is constantly evolving and improving, assisting veterinarians to provide accurate diagnosis, prognosis and appropriate treatment options. Understanding imaging options will allow you to understand why your veterinarian has suggested one over another.


• Digital radiography (X-ray) provides clear, detailed images of bony structures of the horse and is used to diagnose frac bone cysts, and arthritis. However, radiographs create a two-dimensional image of three-dimensional bones, and thus can miss subtle abnormalities, especially in complex joints.


Ultrasused to guide treatment of a hind proximal suspensory ligament lesion.


imaging techniques to determine a specific diagnosis.


• Computed Tomography (CT) provides three-dimensional radi- ographs in real time, which can be manipulated to view at any angle. Contrast can be injected to image soft tissue damage. CT is particu- larly useful for dense bone,  , detection of hairlinefractures and for pre-operativeplanning for complex fractures.


• Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) is useful for bone, tendon, liga-


• Ultrasonography sends sound waves by a handheld probeinto the horse’s body. Structures with different densitiesreflect sound waves back to the probe, which in turn creates digital images. These high quality images are useful to monitor and diagnose soft tissue, joint and bone injuries; however this technique cannot penetrate throughbone, and only the surface of bone is visible.


• Nuclear Scintigraphy (Bone Scan) involves injecting the horse with radioisotope that tracks to ac- tively changing bone and highlights bony injuries or changes. Using a gamma camera to scan the body, injured bone and tissue absorbs more radioisotope than healthy bone and tissue. This technique is useful for multiple limb lameness, inconsistent lame- ness, lameness detected at speed, kissing spine, neck arthritis and sacroiliac joints. But, it is a screening tool that often identifies a region to further investigate with additional


ment and joint pain diagnosis. It is imperative to know the location of pain before imaging. The advantage of MRI is that it shows the chemistry of the tissue, rather than the mineral composition (radiographs and CT), or the sound characteristics (ultrasonography). Specifically, MRI can show where there is increased fluid within a tissue, which is a hallmark of inflammation.


    


–Jennifer G. Barrett, DVM, PhD  Theodora Ayer Randolph Professor of Equine Surgery


For more information about diagnostic imaging at the EMC go to:


https://emc.vetmed.vt.edu/clinical-services/ diagnostic-imaging.html


or contact Kathy Ashland at (703) 771-6875 YOU’RE INVITED!


Sign upat emcinfo@vt.edu for EMC’s free equine health alerts and notice of Tuesday Talks, a free, educational seminar series on topics of interest to the horse community.


Like us on Facebook to stay informed about the latest advances in equine medicine and health.


The Marion duPont Scott Equine Medical Center (EMC) is a premier, full-service equine health facility offering cutting edge diagnostics and advanced specialty services by appointment as well as 24/7 emergency services.


emc.vetmed.vt.edu • 703-771-6800 • 17690 Old Waterford Road, Leesburg, VA 20176 www.equiery.com | 800-244-9580 AUGUST 2018 | THE EQUIERY | 31


917009-180818


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