What is Scintigraphy?
Scintigraphy is an imaging technique that uses radioactive substances (isotopes) and is used in a number of cases where the classical imaging (RX, CT, echo) does not provide sufficient information about the problem of your animal.
The substances used are harmless to your animal and the radiation load is minimal. These examinations have been taking place for some time in humans and animals.
The radioactive particle loses its radiation over time. We call this the half-life. This varies depending on the used isotope and determines how long your animal transmits radiation. Not only isotonic decay is important, but also the rate at which your animal secretes the substance via urine or stool.
Why is the use of isotopes interesting?
The technique is very sensitive. This means that it can already identify problems at a very early stage. With this technique, the whole animal can be portrayed, which is not evident with other diagnostic techniques.
When performing a scintigraphy?
When conventional imaging such as RX, CT or ultrasound does not provide answers, scintigraphy is advised. This technique illustrates the functioning of organs. Often functional changes are earlier present than changes we see in radiographs or ultrasound, which means scintigraphy is a very sensitive technique. The results of the scintigraphic studies are often combined with other imaging techniques to etablish a diagnose.
There are several applications of scintigraphy routinely performed in our clinic:
Cats at middle and older age often suffer from an overactive thyroid gland that produces too much thyroid hormone: this is called hyperthyroidism. The cause are often benign thyroid tumors, but due to the excess of hormones, the health of the cat suffers from it. Although there are several treatment options, treatment of hyperthyroidism with radioactive iodine (as performed in human medicine) is considered the best solution. For more information on radioiodine therapy in cats, please refer to the brochure you can download here.
In addition to hyperthyroidism, too slow thyroid or hypothyroidism can be detected with scintigraphy. This condition is predominantly seen in dogs, and although the first step to diagnosis is put through a blood examination, this does not always give the expected response. A scintigraphy can be designated in these cases.
Finally, dogs also present thyroid tumors. Scintigraphy can be recommended for the diagnosis and assessment of treatment options. Some of these patients also benefit from treatment with radioactive iodine, a therapy offered in our clinic.
If the cause of lameness of your animal is not found through the previous orthopedic examinations, bone scintigraphy may be a tool. The high sensitivity of the technique will primarily indicate the location of the injury, which is not always evident in veterinary medicine. This technique is a good addition to orthopedic or neurological studies.
The detection of a porto-systemic shunt (abnormal blood vessel in the liver) is usually performed by an echographic examination, but scintigraphy can also help diagnose the blood vessels in the abdomen.
The function of each kidney separately can be portrayed, which is unique to scintigraphy and in some patients necessary for their further treatment.