Veterinary Equine Thermography - What is it?
Updated: Jun 24, 2019
Equine Thermography is a fantastic tool for any horse owner. When used correctly by trained professionals and up to spec cameras it can offer a reliable, non invasive thermal images to gain a deeper insight into whats going on with our equine.
The main uses for equine thermography are investigatory, diagnostic and monitoring.
We are typically called out to horses that have a drop in performance, subtle lameness, recovering from injury, horses that are just not them selves and general check ups.
We as owners know our horses, and a change in behaviour and performance can be caused by any number of things from a brewing hoof abscess to an ill fitting saddle. Thermal imaging is a very good way of gaining a physical picture of what your horse is feeling.
The camera measures heat protons emitted from the horse and then converts them into electrical impulses that are then shown as colour images on the camera screen. This technology allows us to detect anomalies in our horses thermal pattern which can then be analysed to diagnose and monitor a variety of ailments including laminitis, nerve damage, arthritis, early splints, ring bone, fractures, soft tissue damage, inflammation and saddle fit issues.
A Thermographer will create a report of your horse that will allow them to analyse the whole horse, we as humans can feel heat differences by hand at 2.5 deg and over. When analysing a report every temperature anomaly of more than 1 deg is needing to be noted. The precision of thermal imaging allows us to be able to detect injury up to three weeks before clinical signs, this makes using thermal imaging as a tool for monitoring performance horses and horses in recovery invaluable. It allows us to detect injury early on and go forward with the best plan of recovery and prevention.
Base line scans:
As owners we can often go about our equine journey and only seek advice when we have a problem arise (if it ain't broke don't fix it right?)
Unfortunately this means when a problem arises we often do not know what 'normal' is for our horse. This is why we use base line scans, these are scans taken when a horse is performing well and can allow us to have an understanding of what is a 'normal' thermal pattern for our healthy horse which can make any future issues easier to find.
This theory should not just apply to thermal imaging, it is always good to have a record of your horses normal respiratory rate, heart rate and temperature.
When to call a thermographer:
- Check ups and base line scans
- My horses gate seems different
- My horse has started knocking poles
- My horse has started being unhappy during our grooming sessions
- My horse is irritable
- My horse is bucking
- My horse is struggling to pick up the correct canter lead
- My horse is disunited
- My horse is holding his tail to one side
- My horse is cold backed
- My horse is coming back into work after injury
My personal goal as an equine thermographer is to provide a professional, affordable service that can be available for all horse owners.
Coupled with my equine physio training and saddle fitting training I will work alongside you and your vet, when required, to diagnose, treat, monitor and prevent.