Bone scintigraphy for the diagnosis of an abnormal medial coronoid process in dogs

van Bruggen LW, Hazewinkel HA, Wolschrijn CF, et al.

Vet Radiol Ultrasound 2010;51:344-348.

Few reports have been published regarding the use of scintigraphy in the diagnosis of elbow joint lameness in dogs. Some authors have speculated about the potential use of bone scintigraphy and its suspected high sensitivity for the early diagnosis of abnormalities of the medial coronoid process (MCP) in dogs. Scintigraphy is used routinely in our institution in dogs presented for thoracic limb lameness and/or suspected of abnormalities of the MCP when radiographic findings were equivocal. Radiographic, scintigraphic, and surgical findings of the elbow joints of 17 dogs with elbow joint lameness were compared with radiographic, scintigraphic, and necropsy findings of the elbow joints of 12 clinically healthy Labrador Retrievers. Quantitative evaluation of scintigraphic images was performed to determine relative radiopharmaceutical uptake in the region of the MCP. Maximum relative uptake of the coronoid process in the normal dogs was taken as a threshold value to classify elbows as positive or negative for an abnormal MCP after all 24 elbows of the 12 healthy dogs were confirmed as being normal at necropsy. All 17 elbows from lame dogs were positive on scintigraphy and confirmed as having chondromalacia, a fissure, or fragmentation of the MCP. Based on our results, bone scintigraphy may be a valuable diagnostic tool for the diagnosis of abnormalities of the MCP in dogs, and particularly in older dogs where clinical and radiographic changes may be ambiguous.