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Research article2024Peer reviewedOpen access

Radiation from the equine perineal region is low compared with the elbow and head 24 hours after bone scintigraphic examination

Marcelino, Leticia; Falk, Emma; Johansson, Jessica; Ryden, Jesper; Uhlhorn, Margareta; Ley, Charles J.


The timing of follow-up radiography and ultrasound in horses that undergo skeletal scintigraphy for lameness investigation varies internationally and between equine hospitals. The prospective, one-group, pretest, posttest study aimed to estimate radiation levels from horses three and 24 h after injection of hydroxydiphosphonate labeled with metastable technetium (Tc-99m-HDP) and investigate which anatomical locations of the horse had higher radiation levels. Included were 46 horses referred for lameness investigation between June and December 2021. Radiation levels from the horse surface were measured using an electronic device from six anatomical locations (head, elbow, dorsum, ventrum, stifle, and perineum) at two time points and adjusted to three and 24 h after injection of Tc-99m-HDP using the radioactive decay law. The radiation measured was significantly different in the various locations of the horses for both time points. At 3 h after injection of Tc-99m-HDP, the ventrum had the highest radiation dose. At 24 h, the radiation emitted from the perineal region was significantly lower (P < .0001) than from the elbow and head, which had the highest values. There was a negative correlation between age and the radiation detected at 24 h postinjection (P = .02). Radiation from the perineal region was low compared with other regions of the horse 24 h postscintigraphy. Additional care should be taken around the ventrum area during the scintigraphy examination and around the elbow and head at 24 h postscintigraphy to minimize radiation to personnel.


ALARA; nuclear medicine; radiation safety; radiopharmaceutical

Published in

Veterinary Radiology and Ultrasound
2024, Volume: 65, number: 2, pages: 68-75
Publisher: WILEY