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The Drakenstein Veterinary Clinic is the only centre in the Western Cape region that is able to perform scintigraphy. This is a diagnostic test used in nuclear medicine. Radioisotopes are injected into the patient and the emitted radiation is captured by a gamma camera to produce a two-dimensional image.

In horses, scintigraphy is used to determine the presence of increased radioisotope uptake (also referred to as a “hotspot”), which is used to determine the source of lameness. In addition to investigating bony lesions, scintigraphy is also performed to evaluate disorders affecting the repiratory, thyroid and renal systems.

Nuclear medicine can be used to diagnose and treat equine cancer. Because it is more specific and tests physiological function of tissues, thereby detecting differences in tissue metabolism (this is important when comparing normal versus cancerous tissue), we can determine if secondary spread of tumour has occurred to other regions.