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Bone scans have proven effective in identifying the source of pain in many difficult-to-diagnose lameness cases. Because foot lameness is frequently bilateral, comparing the intensity of uptake between left and right limbs to identify “hot spots” — as is typically done — can be misleading.
This study was conducted to quantitatively compare uptake in the navicular bone and at the insertion of the deep digital flexor tendon with that seen in peripheral regions of the coffin bone. Normal horses in full work, horses with foot lameness and horses with lameness not related to the foot were examined.
There was a larger, significant difference in uptake in the navicular region relative to the peripheral coffin bone in horses with foot lameness compared with normal horses, and there was good correlation with the results of diagnostic anesthesia. False positive results did occur, particularly in horses with low heels.
Increased uptake in the navicular region compared with the peripheral area of the coffin bone may be a useful means of identifying horses with lameness due to pathological remodeling and associated hoof pain. The results should be interpreted in combination with diagnostic anesthesia to avoid falsely identifying horses as having hoof pain.
— Dyson SJ. Subjective And Quantitative Scintigraphic Assessment Of The Equine Foot And Its Relationship With Foot Pain. Equine Veterinary Journal 2002;34:164-170.
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