Thermal imaging is a non-invasive imaging technique used to measure the difference in the surface temperature of your horse.  These images are not for medical diagnosis but can show areas of heat, infection, inflammation, and reduced blood flow in the muscular, vascular, skeletal, and nervous systems of your horse. It can be useful in rehabilitation cases to determine areas of sensitivity and compensation.

The horse must be unblanketed and in a stall to obtain optimal results. Sunlight, wet coat, blanketing, and clipping will all affect the results.

Thermal image of a horse prone to bucking. Note the lack of blood flow through the lumbar spine and through the sacrum and medial glutes..

Thermal image of a horse prone to bucking. Note the lack of blood flow through the lumbar spine, sacrum, stifle, and medial glutes.

There is a gradient of heat throughout the body. Blue denotes lack of blood flow and is often found in areas below the knee where tendons and ligaments are prevalent. However, it can also reveal areas of restricted blood flow due to an injury, muscle atrophy, subluxations, or improper saddle fit.

Thermal image of a horse with diagnosed thoracic sling injury and kissing spine in the withers.

On the other side of the scale is white, which may denote areas of heat and inflammation. This is common around the ears, nose, and mouth where oxygen flows, but should be only in the body in small amounts. The amount and intensity of inflammation can reveal areas of hyper-sensitivity or possible injury.

Thermal imaging allows me to pinpoint certain areas of an animal’s body that needs extra attention during the massage session, and I often start with areas of less discomfort to help build trust and allow their bodies to relax. Owners can see for themselves the benefits of my services with baselines images at the start of rehabilitation and progress images as we continue with sessions.

Thermal imaging is not offered as a stand-alone service at this time. However, it may be added to any massage therapy or craniosacral therapy session, and is included in the Equine Rehabilitation Program, which has not yet been released (TBD 2024).