Thermal Imaging Technology and Cameras

Thermal Imaging Technology - Thermal Imaging Camera - Digital Infrared Thermal Image of Horse Hoof as Seen Using the High Contrast Rainbow Palette - Equine Thermography Technology

Thermal Image of Horse Hoof as Seen Using the High Contrast Rainbow Palette.

Veterinary Thermal Imaging provides a valuable addition to existing diagnostic tools such as X-rays, MRI scans and Ultrasound scanning offered by your Vet, and provides a visual management tool for owners and professionals monitoring or treating injury, illness or disease.

Thermal Imaging technology was initially developed for military applications and it wasn't until 1988 that commercial variants were available. Initially bulky and cumbersome, advances in Thermal Imaging technology have produced portable, compact and highly sensitive cameras.

Veterinary Thermal Imaging only use FLIR thermal imaging cameras which produce images that exceed the requirements for medically acceptable Thermal Images (Thermograms) by using the High Contrast Rainbow Palette.

Thermographic Reports are produced using the latest PC based Thermal Imaging software which optimizes each image for accurate clinical diagnosis.


Types of Thermal Imaging Cameras

Most Thermal Imaging devices scan at a rate of 9 times per second. They can sense temperatures ranging from -20oC to 2000oC, and can normally detect changes in temperature of about 0.2oC. Veterinary Thermal Imaging uses cameras that can detect temperature differences of less 0.05oC, far more than the 0.3oC necessary for identifying thermal assymetry overlying significant pathology. Our cameras can also scan at a rate of 30 times per second allowing moving images to also be recorded.


There are two common types of Thermal Imaging camera:

Un-Cooled - The infrared-detector elements are contained in a unit that operates at room temperature. This type of system is very quiet, activates immediately and is battery powered. This is the type of camera used by Veterinary Thermal Imaging as it provides the portability necessary for imaging animals.

Cryogenically Cooled – These cameras are more expensive and more susceptible to damage. They are usually mains powered, and not portable. The infrared detector elements are sealed inside a container that cools them to below 0oC. The advantage of such a system is improved resolution.

Further reading about Thermal Imaging Cameras can be found on Wikipedia.


Typical Specification of a FLIR Veterinary Thermal Imaging CameraFLIR Veterinary Thermal Imaging Camera used for Animal and Equine Thermography - Thermal Imaging Technology - Animal Thermography Camera Technology

Spectral range 7.5 to 13µm
Temp range -20 to 1200°C
Thermal sensitivity <0.05°C at 30°C
Visible Light Camera Resolution 3.1MP
Field Of View 25° x 19°
Emissivity Reflected ambient temperature & emissivity correction
Detector Focal Plane Array (FPA) microbolometer; 320 x 240 pixels
Measurement mode 5 spotmeters, 5 box areas, Isotherm, Auto hot/cold spot
Accuracy ±2°C or ±2% of reading
Resolution ±2% of reading
Image Modes IR/Visible light/Thermal fusion

More detailed information about our cameras can be found by visiting our FLIR Camera page or the FLIR website.


Thermography Report Generation

After the images have been taken by the Thermal Imaging Camera, they are digitally mastered on a PC. This ensures that differences with the thermal scales between images are eradicated, and a true like-for-like comparison is produced. The images can also be enhanced to make viewing and interpretation easier. These remodelled images are then compiled electronically into a Thermography or Veterinary Thermal Imaging Report.


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Registered in England and Wales. Registration No 7159409.