Equine thermal imaging is a non-invasive diagnostic tool that uses thermal imaging equipment and computer software to detect minute differences in the horse’s thermal and neural condition. “It allows us to quickly and efficiently identify trauma in an injured animal. By identifying the location of the injury we can prevent further damage.
A hot spot indicates inflammation or increased blood flow. Cold spots indicate a decreased blood flow, usually the result of swelling, nerve damage or scar tissue.
Riders can feel it when there’s something wrong
We ride the horses every day and sometimes we’ll feel small changes in the way a horse moves but sometimes when we take a horse to the vets they are unable to detect anything, because they can’t perceive any symptoms. And of course the horses can’t explain that they’re hurt and where it hurts, so thermal imaging helps us by giving another insight into what’s going on inside the horse’s body.
But thermal imaging isn’t just a tool for prevention; it’s very useful to monitor a horse’s recovery as well. When a horse has been injured it’s difficult to know how far you can push them without damaging them. We wanted to make sure that we could build up the work load safely. It is good to have the reassurance that you’re not pushing the horse too much too quickly and that the problem isn’t re-occurring even in the slightest bit. Thermal imaging does just that; it takes the guesswork out of it.
Not only this review is noninvasive, meaning that we do not need to touch the horse, but it is the most convenient way to locate the problems of tendons, ligaments and joints in the hind legs, in the previous soft tissues and very muscular areas of the trunk. Other areas where it is very useful are the feet, the back teeth. Indeed, a thermography of the saddle and the back of your horse before and after exercise can highlight “hot spots” that correspond to an uneven pressure, asymmetry on the back and spine. An adjustment of the saddle may be necessary. See this website HERE and HERE.
Animals being pursued hide their weaknesses. If they would show weakness in the wild, predators would pick them as a target. Horses are therefore very good at hiding a limp for instance. And it is quite obvious that they can’t tell us what’s wrong. But thermal imaging allows the horse’s body to speak for itself as it were.
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