The role of nuclear medicine in imaging companion animals

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The authors discuss in brief the applications of commonly performed nuclear medicine procedures in humans with respect to veterinary applications. The discussion includes the investigation of pathologies unique to veterinary nuclear medicine or which are more common in animals than humans. Companion animals are living longer today due to advances in both veterinary and human medicine. The problem is, like humans, longevity brings higher incidence of old age morbidity. As a pet owner, one might be initially motivated to extend life expectancy which is followed by the realisation that one also demands quality of life for pets. Early detection through advanced diagnostic tools, like nuclear medicine scintigraphy, allows greater efficacy in veterinary disease. There are limited veterinary nuclear medicine facilities in Australia due to cost and demand. Not surprisingly then, the growth of veterinary nuclear medicine in Australia, and overseas, has been integrally coupled to evaluation of race horses. While these facilities are generally specifically designed for race horses, racing greyhounds, lame family horses and companion animals are being investigated more frequently. In Australia one can now obtain health insurance for pets, for example on home contents insurance policies. Lifestyle changes have seen greater pressure being placed on veterinarians to better prevent and manage serious illness in our pets and to give us a little more information than, for example, 'he's old now, it might be time to put him down'. The veterinarians, then, need access to advanced diagnostic tools to provide improved animal care, health management and answers for pet owners. (author abstract)
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)101-106
Number of pages6
JournalANZ Nuclear Medicine
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2005


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