DITI (Digital Infrared Thermal Imaging) is a non-invasive diagnostic test of physiology that has evolved over the last 20 years. DITI has been recognised as a useful tool in the early identification of musculoskeletal and neurological injuries, especially non-specific (and difficult to diagnose) lameness. The ability to detect inflammatory and neurological processes at an early stage can be critical to evaluation and recovery. DITI is unique in its ability to show physiological abnormalities and can graphically display and record subjective feeling of pain by objectively displaying changes in the skins surface temperature that accompanies a state of pain.
DITI allows the examiner to visualize and quantify changes in skin surface temperature. An infrared scanning device is used to convert infrared radiation emitted from the skin surface into electrical impulses that are visualized in colour on a monitor. This visual image graphically maps the body temperature and is referred to as a thermogram.
The spectrum of colours indicate an increase or decrease in the amount of infrared radiation being emitted from the body surface. Since there is a high degree of thermal symmetry in the normal body, subtle abnormal temperature changes can be easily identified. DITI can provide information about an animal’s response to treatment as well as the effects of injury, disease or prescribed treatment.
DITI can help to:
· Diagnose and locate soft tissue injuries
· Define the extent of a lesion of which a diagnosis has previously been made
· Localise an abnormal area not previously identified, so further diagnostic tests can be performed
· Detect early lesions and disease before they are clinically evident
· Monitor the healing process before your horse is returned to training
Lower limb and foot problems can be difficult to diagnose and treat and Digital Infrared Thermal Imaging (DITI) can help with both. Accurate and early diagnosis while injuries and diseases are still in the sub-clinical (before lameness) stage provides for better treatment options and a better outcome (either prevention or earlier return to training / competition). Once lameness has occurred finding the source of the issues and providing the correct treatment is top priority. DITI can help to detect intermittent or non-specific lameness whether it is neurological or musculoskeletal. Conditions such as early stage pedal osteitis, navicular disease, foot abscess, laminitis and many more can be evaluated with DITI.
The aim of DITI is to locate the primary source of lameness as well as any secondary issues that may go unnoticed or untreated. DITI is completely non-invasive and can evaluate the whole horse (not just where the issue is thought to be) in a matter of minutes.
· Tendon and ligament injuries can be detected long before they cause lameness and break-down. Published studies have shown that thermography can detect tendon lesions 6-8 weeks before they become clinically evident.
· Joint problems can be evaluated for inflammation (arthritis) degenerative changes, and can help x-ray locate problems such as chip fractures and difficult to image stress fractures that may otherwise only be seen with scintigraphy (nuclear bone scan).
· Lameness due to pain may not be caused by any local structural problem. DITI can evaluate the cause of lameness due to referred pain syndromes such as nerve entrapments as well as other vascular, neurological and musculoskeletal pain syndromes
Back Issues & Saddle Testing
Back problems are very often an indicator that there is something wrong in a different part of the body. When injured, a horse will very often compensate for the injury by transferring its weight to the uninjured side. This can cause excessive stress along the spine resulting in long term problems if it is not detected. Back issues and saddle fit can be a confusing issue for both horse owners and professionals, helping to confirm which area is the primary concern is always the first step with DITI.
Back pain or poor saddle fit can result in uncharacteristic behaviour such as bucking, rearing, becoming disunited, uneven gait and a general reduced performance. DITI can visualise this pain and highlight abnormalities within the back or other areas of the body that can be identified, diagnosed & treated.
Good saddle fitting is essential to prevent back injury or discomfort. A horse’s back changes over time through age, natural development and the impact of training and conditioning. Stress and injury can result if saddles are not fitted correctly.
A DITI saddle examination can detect the effects of saddle fit and any developing problems caused by the saddle or rider’s position in the saddle. As a simple test of physiology it can provide valuable information for a saddler and help solve any confusion as to why the horse may not be performing well.
Equiscan offer a unique medical grade Digital Infrared Thermal Imaging service to horse owners, vets, trainers and equine professionals, using screening devices designed specifically for veterinary and medical testing. We provide you with accurate and objective results to aid diagnosis, treatment and rehabilitation. For further details please visit www.equiscan.co.uk or contact us via email at firstname.lastname@example.org or telephone 0845 519 5971/07939 037292.
Veterinary Thermographer ACCT