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Thermal Imaging is the process to create an image using Infrared Radiation. Most things emit some form of Infrared Radiation, including humans and animals. Infrared Radiation is directly effected by temperature, e.g. the higher the temperature the more Infrared Radiation is emitted, and the inverse is also true. Using a Microbolometer, a thermal camera is capable of generating a Thermal Image by applying a colour palette to the different intensities of Infrared Radiation.
Why use Thermal imaging as a diagnostic tool in the Veterinary Medical Sector?
Thermal imaging use as a diagnostic tool in veterinary practice has grown in the last ten years. The reason for the growth in using thermal cameras for diagnosing animal health problems is because it is quick, non-contact and non-invasive to the animal. This can be particularly useful when you are dealing with large animals such as cattle or horses as they won’t hear or notice the thermal camera taking thermal images so no further stress is directed onto the animal.
Thermal cameras are becoming popular particularly with the Horse Racing Equine Industry. Often thousands are spent on preparing horses to race in national races, so making sure your horse is in it’s peak condition is very important for horse owners for them to make a return on their investment. Horses are very expensive animals to buy, if you are choosing a horse to race it is important to carry out a pre-purchase exam and this can be carried out with a thermal camera. A thermal imaging exam of a horse can show up health issues that are not visible to the naked eye. This can include Arthritis, hoof abscesses, soft tissue damage, tendon damage, laminitis and many more. The thermal survey can also measure the horse’s blood flow which can be an indication in how the horse may perform in its next event. Thermal Cameras can be used on a regular basis to assist with making the correct size of horse shoes and to make sure saddles are correctly fitted to the horse which can prevent muscle damage or any sores occurring.