Nuclear Medicine

Nuclear medicine falls under the umbrella of diagnostic imaging, but is a unique imaging modality.   This technique allows us to administer a radioactive substance (radionuclide) either by injection or by mouth and observe the activity within the patient, providing both morphologic (form and structure) and functional information.

Common nuclear medicine procedures in veterinary medicine, all of which are performed at Angell, include:

  • Bone scans
  • Thyroid scintigraphy
  • GFR (glomerular filtration rate)
  • Trans-splenic portal scintigraphy

These 4 studies all use a common radiopharmaceutical, Technetium (as Pertechnetate; 99m-TcO4), which is injected into the patient.

Our team acquires dynamic (real-time moving acquisition) or static (summed over time) images using a gamma camera. The radioactive patient is placed on the gamma camera, which detects the emissions from the patient, and an image is generated that shows the pattern of radiopharmaceutical uptake/distribution that will vary depending on the organ system being evaluated.

“Tec” is very safe and has a relatively short half-life (6.02h) meaning that the animals are releasable in approximately 24 hours in Massachusetts. For more in-depth descriptions of these studies, please click here.

Referring Veterinarians: To find out more about our diagnostic imaging services available to referring veterinarians, please click here.

Our Services

Access to a full range of nuclear medicine procedures including:

  • Bone Scans
    • Generally used for evaluation of primary or metastatic disease, septic arthritis, osteomyelitis, fracture healing, subchondral disease, enthesiopathy, or occult lameness, including bone tumors
    • Obtained using HDP (disodium oxidronate) or MDP (methylene diphosphonate) labeled with 99m-Tc
  • Thyroid scintigraphy
    • Useful in to evaluating our hyperthyroid patients, or to evaluate for size and/or metastatic spread of thyroid cancer
    • Iodine 131 (I-131, a form of radioactive iodine) treatment for feline hyperthyroidism
  • GFR (glomerular filtration rate)
    • Acquired as a dynamic (moving) study in real-time
    • Useful for evaluation of renal function prior to nepthrectomy
    • An inexpensive way to evaluate renal function
  • Trans-splenic portal scintigraphy (TSPS)

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