Infrared thermography in horses: Controlled environment best

One of the infrared thermographic images taken by the researchers.
One of the infrared thermographic images taken by the researchers.

Horses whose backs are checked with infrared thermography should spend 30 minutes in a temperature-controlled room beforehand in order to obtain accurate results, Brazilian research suggests.

Infrared thermography is used as a diagnostic imaging tool. It measures the surface temperature of an object through its heat emission. It is a non-invasive and painless approach which involves no radiation.

It is capable of identifying lesions not picked up by physical examination, zeroing in on injuries that cause increased blood flow, increased metabolic activity, and alterations in the local circulation due to inflammation.

Mariana Pavelski and her colleagues from the Universidade Federal do Paraná set out to establish the ideal time for a horse to stay inside a temperature-controlled room to balance their temperature before a thermographic back examination.

The study team used 15 healthy horses, which were given thermographic examinations of their thoracic, lumbar and pelvic regions at four different times. The horses first underwent thermographic examinations outside the room, followed by three inside the temperature-controlled room, 30 minutes, 60 minutes and 90 minutes after entering.

There was a significant difference between the thermography performed outside and inside the temperature-controlled room, which was regulated at 21 degree Celsius for the study, they reported in the journal, Ciência Rural.

It was concluded that the ideal time for a horse to stay in the temperature-controlled room was 30 minutes.

They found no statistical difference in the thermographic temperatures associated with the different stay times inside the controlled room, but outside the controlled room there were significant differences.

“Thirty minutes inside the prepared room with a temperature of 21 degrees Celsius was enough time to balance the skin temperature of the horses and measure the temperature of the thoracic, lumbar and pelvic regions,” they reported.

Pavelski was joined in the study by Mardjory da Silva Basten, Eduarda Busato and Peterson Triches Dornbusch.

Infrared thermography evaluation from the back region of healthy horses in controlled temperature room
Mariana Pavelski, Mardjory da Silva Basten, Eduarda Busato, Peterson Triches Dornbusch.
Cienc. Rural vol.45 no.7 Santa Maria July 2015 Epub May 22, 2015

The full study can be read here.

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