Thermography is a non-invasive tool used for imaging in ‘real time’. Radiographs give a static view of structures. Thermography gives us an image of the blood flow and nerve conduction in an area. Many of the pictures you see are of “hot spots” in a horse’s body. This image can be used to help assess the area to focus on. It can also be used to identify areas that are being overworked because of a compensatory problem.
Thermography is especially helpful pre and post acupuncture and chiropractic treatments. We often use is when assessing back pain in performance horses. Initially, scans will show areas of red and white. The white tells us an area is inflamed and “too hot”. We can address these areas with adjustments and acupuncture and re-scan post treatment to see how effective our treatment was. When we see blue areas on the scan, this means the problem is likely chronic and there is less blood flow to the area. This might be due to nerve damage, tissue scarring and muscle atrophy.
These scans are also great for saddle fitting. There is more information on how we use thermography for saddle fit on the saddle fitting page.