Digital Infrared Thermal Imaging (DITI) or thermography, is a highly sensitive diagnostic test that scans and measures infrared radiation or heat at the body’s skin surface. These measurements are translated into an accurate graphic image called a ‘thermogram’. It has been long recognized that changes in skin temperature are under the sympathetic control of the autonomic nervous system. In healthy individuals, the thermogram shows up as a unique thermal ‘fingerprint’ with a high degree of symmetry between right and left sides of the body. However, in times of dysfunction or disease, this thermal pattern is altered alerting us to a potential problem. Unlike other diagnostic tests such as radiographs (x-ray), magnetic resonance (MR) and ultrasound that utilize differences in tissue densities, thermography utilizes physiology and function for results. While it is not intended to replace other diagnostic imaging tests recommended by your veterinarian, its value is in its ability to screen and detect dysfunction early, in many cases weeks before it would be clinically apparent or detectable by other diagnostic tests. DITI is extremely cost effective in that it allows us to hone in and localize the dysfunction, eliminating numerous expensive and unnecessary tests. Early and focused detection of pathology leads to a quicker diagnosis and generally leads to an improved outcome for your animal companion.
Thermography is a unique, highly sensitive test that is:
● Cost effective
● FDA approved
● Radiation free
● Does not require that sedation or anesthesia be administered to your animal companion
● Can be done in your home or barn
How can thermography benefit my animal companion??
Thermography has many applications and is used, but not limited to the following:
● Evaluating pain
● Wellness screening/early detection program
● Assessing lameness
● Ligament, tendon, or muscle sprains/strains
● Inflammatory processes
● Neurological dysfunction
● Vascular dysfunction
● Stress Fractures
● Musculoskeletal Injuries
● Monitoring healing and response to treatment
● Pre-purchase exams and saddle fit
Thermography helps us see the pain
Pain is a subjective experience due its interpretive nature. A noxious or painful stimulus of equal intensity will be uniquely experienced by different individuals. Animals cannot tell us that they are experiencing pain, or that the pain medications we are giving are not helping. Pet guardians are often concerned or unsure if their animal companions are experiencing pain and don’t know what signs to look for. Recognition of pain can be very difficult, especially for stoic animals and even veterinarians can have difficulty determining if a patient is in pain and/or to what degree. Giving an objective measure of the pain response is one the most relevant uses for veterinary thermography as the foundation for quality of life is comfort. Although there are certain criteria that veterinarians can use to rate pain levels in animals, much of it is guesswork, which can often lead to inappropriate pain management. Thermal imaging gives a graphic display of the subjective feeling of pain by objectively displaying the changes in skin surface temperature that accompany pain states. This allows us to recognize it, treat it and monitor response to therapy.