See the Unseen
Equine patients cannot tell us where they have an issue. Digatherm’s thermal imaging system solves that problem by identifying areas that would benefit from further examination. These images provide real-time information about the circulatory, musculoskeletal, and nervous systems.
What is Equine Thermal Imaging?
Equine Thermography – a technique to evaluate patients
Equine thermal imaging uses a medical-grade infrared camera to measure the temperatures emitted from the body surface. The software converts temperature data into images that evaluate the patient’s physiology. These color images provide a physiological map of the patient. This allows veterinarians to see thermal patterns and impressions unique to that patient. Any abnormal pattern warrants further evaluation.
The Digatherm® medical-grade infrared imaging system equipped with veterinary-specific software makes reading thermal images intuitive for clinicians. With colors representing temperatures in the thermal image, clinicians can easily identify unexpected areas of increased or decreased temperatures. Each of these areas warrants further investigation and consideration of etiology.
How does infrared thermal imaging benefit the equine practice?
Non-invasive medical thermal imaging provides a physiological study of the entire patient. Anatomical areas that would benefit from further evaluation are easily identified. This is possible often before any clinical signs or structural changes exist. In addition to the primary areas of concern, the discovery of all secondary and compensatory areas are identified. Beneficial treatments can simultaneously be administered to all affected areas. This allows the equine patient a shorter recovery time and even the prevention of an injury.
A Digatherm® equine thermal imaging camera objectively monitors any pharmaceutical or modality-based therapeutic plan. The common question: “When can they return to work?” is answered by visualizing the progress of the case. Early return to work often results in reinjury. Monitoring with thermal imaging helps validate complete healing before return to work.
When clients see thermal images, they better understand their horse.
This understanding supports diagnostic and treatment recommendations. When combined with ultrasonography, radiography, or nuclear scintigraphy, thermal images shorten the path to definitive diagnoses.
- Detecting issues early before any clinical signs
- Objective monitoring of any therapeutic or rehabilitation plan
- Client education allowing better understanding and compliance
“This must be what it felt like to discover penicillin! I’ve actually made it home before dark two days in a row, because this system takes me straight to the area of lameness.”
– Brian Garrett DVM, CVSMT
What can you see?
Below are several case examples using equine thermal imaging.
Presentation: Thoroughbred, 2-year-old. Lameness examination.
Digital Thermal Imaging: A physiological exam was conducted capturing images using a Digatherm thermal imaging system.
Interpretation: Areas of hyperthermic activity medially along the entire length of the left metacarpal with a focal area medially at level 3, a focal area proximal to left medial sesamoid, and another focal area over the left lateral sesamoid. The areas of hyperthermia correlate with the lesions on the ultrasound.
Presentation: Equine patient with back pain
Digital Thermal Imaging: Asymmetrical hyperthermia thoracic and lumbar spine and surrounding musculature
Interpretation: Radiographs show remodeling of thoracic articular processes of T14-16.
Diagnosis: Baastrup’s disease (Kissing Spines)
Presentation: Equine patient with undiagnosed lameness. Several lameness exams and radiographic studies failed to localize the issue.
Digital Thermal Imaging: A physiological exam was
conducted capturing anterior to posterior and lateral images of the shoulders.
Interpretation: Hyperthermia repeatable in all views over scapulohumeral joint.
Diagnosis: Repeat radiographs taken of this area revealed a fracture of the supraglenoid tubercle of the scapula.
Credit: Dr. Liz Steele, Steele Equine (Zolfo Springs, FL)
Presentation: Three-year-old Quarter Horse
Digital Thermal Imaging: A physiological exam was
conducted capturing an anterior to posterior image of the hocks.
Interpretation: Bilateral generalized hyperthermia over proximal aspect of hocks, with focal assymetry on the anterior medial aspect of the left hock (location 1).
Diagnosis: Radiographs confirm left tarsal osteoarthritis at the location of most intense hyperthermia.
Presentation: Five-year-old American Quarter Horse with a traumatic wound that dehisced 21 days after primary closure.
Digital Thermal Imaging: The non-healing wound was imaged at day 37.
Interpretation: The thermal image showed asymmetry, with expected hyperthermia proximal, distal and posterior to the wound, but an abnormal area of hypothermia was observed on the anterior aspect of the wound.
Diagnosis: Differential diagnoses included sequestrum, foreign body, or other cause of delayed healing.
Credit: Chelsie McAllister, DVM, Valley Veterinary Clinic (Glasgow, MT)
Presentation: Yearling Thoroughbred with acute lameness and mild ataxia
Digital Thermal Imaging: A series of screening images were taken of the entire colt to look for thermal asymmetry.
Interpretation: Focal hypothermia in the distal lateral left forelimb indicated a need for neurological assessment of the cervical region. Hyperthermia over the caudal aspect of the left hindlimb suggest possible inflammatory response typical with compensatory process.
Diagnosis: Radiographs detected cervical vertebral stenosis C3-C4.
Digatherm® Thermal Imaging Systems
Learn more about Digatherm by ICI’s veterinary tools and technology.
IR Pad 640
IR Pad 320
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