Nuclear Medicine

General principles

Nuclear medicine procedures are performed after administration of a radionuclide labeled with various pharmaceuticals (radiopharmaceuticals) that have special affinity for specific organs or structures. The most commonly used radionuclide is Technetium 99m (99mTc). 99mTechnetium-MethyleneDiPhosphonate (99mTc-MDP) is used for bone imaging. 99mTc-Pertechnatate is used for thyroid scintigraphy and trans-splenic portal scintigraphy.

Injected radiopharmaceuticals accumulate in the target organ and radioactivity is then detected using the gamma camera. Images are displayed using a computer. Nuclear medicine images are usually of relatively poor resolution, but provide unique, functional information about specific organs.


The nuclear medicine facility at the Ohio State Veterinary Teaching Hospital has two gamma cameras; a rectangular, large field-of-view camera and a round, small field-of-view camera. The cameras are linked to a dedicated computer using Mirage software.

The large field-of-view gamma camera is mounted on a rail attached to the ceiling and can be moved easily in all directions. This is particularly useful when performing bone scans on horses.

Nuclear medicine procedures

Routine nuclear medicine procedures include the following:

Large Animals
Bone scintigraphy
Small Animals
Thyroid scintigraphy
Trans-splenic portal scintigraphy
Bone scintigraphy
Renal scintigraphy
Lung perfusion scintigraphy

Other nuclear medicine procedures may be available upon special request.