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Thermal Imaging 

What you need to know for your horse's appointment


How it works

Our goal is to take the highest quality images possible. Which means you play a vital role, and we need your participation to make this happen!


Here’s what you need to know:

During these scans we are using a high-powered thermal imager that receives and processes infrared radiation given off by the target, in this case your animal, in order to generate a thermogram.  This image, essentially a ‘heat image’, depicts different colour tones that correspond to the distribution of infrared radiation over the surface of the target. 


Every item on earth generates infrared radiation. Ideally, we only want our infrared camera to capture radiation emitted by your horse, and it’s important that we minimise any reflection or interference. 


This can all seem quite daunting, but it’s pretty straight forward, and we are here every step of the way to make the process easy and answer any questions. 

Horse Prep in 4 easy steps


Have a safe area out of direct sun, wind and rain for mobile bookings. 

A shed or large stable with a concrete or hard level surface is ideal.  In summer, imaging at night can be necessary to avoid summer heat.

Or you can come to us

On the day

Don't apply any kind of creams, lotions or fly sprays topically.

Your horse needs to be clean and dry. No washing, cold hosing or main pulling.

Avoid any exercise unless stated otherwise.

If possible, no injections or medications.

1 hour before

Remove any kinds of rugs, bandages and leg wraps.

Now is the time to ensure your horse is clean and dry. Brush away any dirt, debris and hay ensuring the coat is clean. Band the mane out of the way, and pick out hooves.  

No food or water.

30 minutes before

Ensure your horse is settled in the area they are to be imaged. Don't groom, pat, or lean on them, and ensure they stay standing,

That's it! Your horse is ready to be imaged.


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Location Prep

Imaging is best performed on a clean, dry, level area where the patient can stand squarely in comfort without footing obscuring the hooves. 

A perfect area is a 5mt x 5mt closed shelter with wood lined walls floor to ceiling and clean concrete or rubber floor. Realistically with is rarely possible, and we do our best working with less than ideal locations while on the road. 


Any metal, glass, or reflective surfaces such as bare steel and tin/zinc sheeting can interfere with the camera readings. 

The area should be out of direct sunlight, breezes and wetness/moisture such as in a large shelter, stable or shed.  On a fine clear day without extreme temperatures a solid shaded area can suffice. If this isn’t possible, please let us know when booking so we can bring our specially equipped imaging and treatment float. 


For full hoof imaging, any pads or shoes would need to be removed prior to our arrival. Note: Hoof imaging can be done with shoes or pads, but radiation is blocked by solid objects.  So the camera cannot receive radiation through solid objects; shoes and pads will block full imaging of the soles.  If hoof issues are your primary concern, it is recommended that the horse be barefoot for imaging.  We are happy to work with you to coordinate our visit with your trimmer or farrier's visit. 

equine thermal image.jpg

Do's and Don'ts

Preparation do's and don'ts for your horse's appointment

Preparation – The "Do" List: 

1 hour before: 

- All leg wraps, bandages, blankets, or any other object having contact with the area of anatomy to be examined should be removed for a minimum of 1 hour prior to the commencement of the thermal imaging assessment. Animals should not be touched or allowed to sit or lay down. 

- Horse should be clean, groomed, mud-free and completely dry 

 If full body or imaging neck area, mane needs to be off the neck, by braiding or put in bunches with clips. 

Feet should be picked out, dry and brushed clean--outside and underneath. 


30 Minutes before:


- Horse must be under cover, settled and relaxed in an enclosed or covered area away from cold drafts, rain, direct sun for a minimum of 20 minutes. Preferably 30. 


- No water or food. Ensure already hydrated and not hungry. This helps prevent animal from being fidgety or stressed. 

Preparation – The "Don’t" List: 


- If possible, do not shave or clip areas of your horse in the days prior to your scan, as these areas will retain and emit heat differently than unshaved areas.


- Don’t pull the mane or tail within the 24 hours prior to the consultation. 

- Don’t use any coat conditioners, fly sprays, blisters, liniments, poultices, creams or cold hosing, etc. on the day of the consultation, unless under Veterinary direction.


- Don’t apply ice or heat within 4 hours of imaging. 

- Don’t exercise the patient 2 hours prior 

- Don’t wash or get the patient wet 2 hours prior. 

- Don’t groom, lean on, or pet the animal within the 30 minutes prior to your horse’s scan time. 


Other important information you should know

Whenever possible steroids, sympathetic agonists and antagonists, vasoactive medications, opiates and transdermal patches should be avoided for 24 hours prior to testing. 

Avoid any therapy or exposure that is applied to the skin, goes through the skin or may affect skin for 24 hours before imaging. The same is true for any electrodiagnostic technique that may affect skin. 

In the absence of extenuating circumstances, diagnostic studies using neurolytic (nerve) blocks should be avoided for 3 days prior to testing. 

Please give us a full medical history and information of any vet care, therapies and medication prior to your appointment. This can impact the results.  

All patient/client information is strictly confidential and will not be released to any other party without written consent. 

 At our discretion we reserve the right to disclose relevant information to select parties if we believe a person or animal is at risk or serious injury. 

In the case where imaging is of a leased animal or part of a pre purchase vet check, proof of lease or vet check approval must be produced by the legal owner on request. Any reports and information obtained remain privileged to the party paying for the appointment unless stated otherwise. 

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