Comparison of 18F-sodium fluoride positron emission tomography and CT: An exploratory study in 12 dogs with elbow pain

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18F-Sodium Fluoride (18F-NaF) positron emission tomography (PET) provides high resolution functional information about bone activity and can be fused with CT images to improve three-dimensional localization and characterization of lesions. This prospective, observational study assessed 18F-NaF PET-CT for imaging of canine elbows, compared PET with CT findings, and assessed correlation with lameness. Twelve patients with elbow pain were included. Cases included primarily young, large breed dogs. A three-level clinical lameness score was assigned to each forelimb. All dogs had bilateral elbow joints imaged with CT and PET under general anesthesia, approximately 1.5 h after intravenous injection of 3 MBq/kg of 18F-NaF. Imaging findings were independently reviewed by two radiologists using a three-level scoring scheme over nine anatomical regions in the elbow. PET imaging identified areas of bone activity where minimal change was identified on CT. PET imaging also demonstrated absence of uptake in areas where modeling was present on CT. A stronger correlation was observed between clinical grades and PET scores (r2 = 0.38, P =.001) than between clinical grades and CT scores (r2 = 0.17, P =.048). The total PET scores were significantly different for each clinical grade (P =.013) but total CT scores did not differ (P =.139). This exploratory study suggests that PET improves the ability to detect lesions and to determine the clinical significance of CT findings in dogs with elbow pain.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalVeterinary Radiology and Ultrasound
StateAccepted/In press - 2021


  • bone
  • elbow dysplasia
  • joint
  • medial coronoid process
  • standardized uptake value

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • veterinary(all)


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