Tracy A. Turner:
An Introduction to Equine Thermal Imaging
DVM, MS, DipACVS, DipACVSMR
This discussion will introduce the listener to equine thermal imaging. Thermography is the pictorial representation of the surface temperature of an object. It is a non-invasive technique that measures emitted heat. A medical thermogram represents the surface temperatures of skin making thermography useful for the detection of inflammation and circulatory changes. This ability to non-invasively assess inflammatory change, makes thermography an ideal imaging tool to aid in the diagnosis of certain lameness conditions in the horse.
Thermography was first used in veterinary medicine 50 years ago. Originally, its use was limited for the most part to university hospitals or large referral practices. But over the last 20 years, thermography has been used practically in equine medicine. This is a physiological imaging modality that requires a learning curve for interpretation, but it offers the operator new insight into their patients. This discussion will cover the history of equine thermography, how to make diagnostic thermograms and what thermal imaging's role is in equine medicine.