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Veterinary Uses for a Thermal Imaging Camera


2 mins


Opgal staff writers

published published

February 15, 2016



It would be wonderful if animals could tell us what hurts, and how much, when they are ill or injured. The next best thing to communicating directly with the animals is using the veterinary thermal imaging camera in order to discover and map out injuries. This specialized camera can help to diagnose the health of both small and large animals. Equine imaging has been used for some time to assist in locating injuries and determining whether a horse is ready to race, for instance. Lameness is a common problem among horses, and equine imaging has had an impact on making the correct diagnosis for the correct treatment.  A similar methodology is being applied to the health issues of small animals, such as dogs and cats. The animal thermography camera is making a significant difference in the health outcome for small animals and pets which means a big difference for pet owners who intuitively know something is wrong with their best friend.

What Is a Thermal Imaging Camera?

The thermal camera detects radiation and makes likenesses of that radiation called thermograms. Radiation creates heat, and the thermal imaging camera uses this to find abnormalities in the animal by reading the heat map created by the camera.

With the animal thermography camera, a veterinarian can find out if an animal is in pain and is able to pinpoint the source of the pain. Guesswork is eliminated. Being able to make an objective assessment and diagnosis of circulation problems, injuries to muscles, arthritis, and inflammation gives the veterinarian many more options for treatment. By avoiding exploratory surgery, often the only option when a diagnosis can’t be reached, there is less risk to the animal. The animal has a much better chance of recovering because of this quick and accurate method of diagnosis.

What Can Animal Thermography Do?

Sometimes an animal may have a condition that is hard to diagnose. In some cases, even an MRI, X-ray, and CT can miss the source of the animal’s disease or injury. Thermography often locates the problem that the more familiar methods missed. This method works both on bones and soft tissue.

What Are the Advantages?

When presented with a sick or injured animal, a veterinarian has to make decisions quickly with the information at hand. Thermography provides immediate results, and there is no need to sedate the animal. The method is non-invasive to preserve the animal’s comfort. For all of these reasons, thermal imaging saves both time and money.

This technology represents a huge leap forward in the field of veterinary medicine. Diagnosing efficiently and accurately lets the veterinarian administer the correct medications, surgical procedures, and additional tests. Thermal imaging can be added as an adjunct to other diagnostic methods, giving the veterinarian another important tool.