As Equine Thermography can be affected by artefacts (anomalies in the image) the following guidelines have been put together to ensure that the most accurate and easily interpreted images are taken.
• Your horse should be stabled for an hour before the consultation, unless stabling causes them to become agitated and stressed. Weaving or door banging will make the images of the front legs misleading. If this is the case, we can work around it, and your horse should remain turned out.
• Your horse must be mud-free, and completely dry. Mud and water block the emission of infrared, and affect the temperature measurements.
• Better views of the neck are obtained where the mane is braided or put into bunches along the crest at least 30 minutes before the session.
• Your horse should be groomed, and feet picked out, but please don’t groom your horse within the 20 minutes prior to your consultation time. Grooming increases blood flow to the area. Don’t pull the mane or tail within the 24 hours prior to the consultation.
• Take off all bandages and boots 20 minutes before your consultation, otherwise your horse’s legs will appear to be warmer than they are. Take off all rugs, if your horse must wear one, try to limit it to a travel rug, or cotton summer sheet and fasten the surcingles loosely.
• Don’t use any coat conditioners, fly sprays, blisters, liniments, poultices, creams etc on the day of the consultation, unless under Veterinary direction.
• Make a note of any medications your horse is taking, and any herbal or homeopathic remedies and feed supplements. Any of these could have an effect on your horse’s circulation, and create a false positive. We’ll ask for these details at your consultation.
• Prepare an area suitable for imaging. This should be out of direct sunlight (the radiation from the sun will warm your horse and create falsely warm areas), and draughts (the breeze will ‘take away’ infrared radiation coming from your horse and make the area appear cooler). Ideal areas are; an indoor school (don’t forget to book it), a closed barn, a foaling or large loose box with the bedding thrown up, or less ideally, a sheltered area of the yard. We can take the images in less than perfect conditions, but the resulting report won’t be as easy to interpret. Don’t be surprised if we ask you to turn the lights off, even the radiation from an incandescent light bulb can affect the images, and the thermal camera works just as well in the dark.
• Finally, if the temperature is greater than 25oC, your horse will naturally appear warmer as his capillary beds dilate and blood flow increases to cool him down. On hot summer days it is best to take images as early as possible in the morning, whilst your horse is still cool, or late in the evening. We avoid midday. External temperatures are always noted, and programmed into the camera and computer software used to analyse the images. This allows correction, and eliminates potential problems in interpreting images.