Spriet M, Espinosa P, Kyme AZ, et al.
Positron emission tomography (PET) is a highly sensitive, noninvasive imaging technique for quantifying biological functions of tissues. However, at the time of this study, PET imaging applications had not been reported in the horse. The aim of this exploratory study was to determine whether a portable high-resolution PET scanner could be used to image the equine distal limb. Images of the front feet and fetlocks of three research horses, with known lesions localized to the distal front limbs, were acquired under general anesthesia after administration of 18F-fluorodeoxyglucose (18F-FDG), with doses ranging from 1.5 to 2.9 MBq/kg. The radiation exposure measured during imaging was slightly higher than 99mTechnetium scintigraphy. However, the use of general anesthesia allowed the proximity and the contact time with the patient to be minimized for the staff involved. 18F-FDG uptake was evident throughout the soft tissues, with the highest uptake in the coronary band and the lowest uptake in the tendons. Anatomic structures could be discriminated due to the high contrast between soft tissue and bone. Detected lesions included lysis of the flexor cortex of the navicular bone, lesions of flexor tendons and suspensory ligament, and abnormal uptake through the lamina of a laminitic subject. Findings indicated that tomographic molecular imaging is feasible in the equine distal limb and could be useful as a future diagnostic technique for clinical and research studies, especially those involving tendinopathy/desmopathy and laminitis.