New Bolton Center Kennett Square, PA
Emergencies & Appointments:
Ryan Hospital Philadelphia, PA

PET Scan

Limb fractures in horses are often fatal, so diagnosing and preventing these injuries are essential to equine health. An Equine PET (Positron Emission Tomography) Scan is a nuclear medicine imaging technique, similar to scintigraphy.

Both scintigraphic and PET scans detect “hot spots” that may indicate microscopic changes that may develop into more severe injuries. Initially, this type of imaging required horses to undergo general anesthesia. Today, the procedure can be done with simple sedation.

What to Expect

A small dose of a radioactive agent is injected about 30 minutes prior to imaging. This agent distributes through the body and accumulates in regions with increased bone turnover. Once the horse is sedated, the procedure takes between 3-5 minutes to image each site. In less than 30 minutes, both front feet and both front fetlocks can be imaged.


PET Scan 1-500
PET Scan 2-500
PET Scan 3-500
CT/PET fused images of a fetlock in a horse demonstrate many sites of uptake of the radioactive agent in the fetlock indicating multiple sites of bone injury
PET Scan 4-500
PET Scan 5-500
PET Scan 6-500
CT/PET fused images of a carpus (knee) in a horse demonstrate significant uptake of the radioactive agent in the third carpal bone indicating bone injury