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  1. #1
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    Default Thermal Imaging **UPDATED W/ RESULTS**

    I'm actually excited to give this a try. Rads/ultrasounds show nothing on my youngster, but we're not quite ready for bone scan just yet.

    There is a thermal imaging person in our area, so I'm going to give it a try and see if anything shows up. It's only $300 and they come to the barn so it is fairly affordable. (I know this doesn't replace traditional diagnostics.)

    Anyone else tried thermal imaging? Good/bad?
    Last edited by WW_Queen; Aug. 10, 2012 at 09:09 AM.
    A quick tutorial on interval training: Conditioning your horse for eventing



  2. #2
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    My vet uses it with just about every injury. Seen some fascinating things with it over the years. Sometimes she does it for her own information (i.e. no cost to me), other times it's as a diagnostic piece of what we're looking at. I wish that it was more commonplace and cheaper to do all of the time.

    Most recently one of my horses wrestled a metal gate (I'm not sure who won, but the gate was in ugly shape at the end of it!) and came away with a swollen hind fetlock. We thermal imaged it and were able to see that the inflammation was around the joint but not in it, and infer that it's most likely a minor issue (which wasn't mind blowing news since she wasn't ever off or stiff on the leg, but did make me feel better about what was going on). Another horse got kicked on the point of his shoulder last week (don't even get me started on my hell week of horses last week), and through thermal imaging we were able to see the hoofprint, and also where the heat was in that area. It helped to alleviate my concerns about the potential of more serious damage to his forearm area.

    A friend of mine was able to determine that her horse had some tendon issue going on with a long term non-specific lameness many years ago. The thermal imaging gave the vet a picture of where to look with the ultrasound, IIRC.

    I guess my feeling is that it can be a good tool. In the cases where I've used it I've felt that it's one piece of the diagnostics, not the definitive tool. But it does give a very clear picture of where inflammation is and what's going on IF you have a good vet or practitioner to interpret the findings.
    __________________________________
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  3. #3
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    Wonderful diagnostic tool! Our farm lameness specialist uses it routinely. A few years ago my horse came up 3 legged lame and one look with the camera showed that he pulled groin muscles...possibly doing the splits...ouch! I would agree it is only one piece of a workup and that it is only useful in the hands of someone experienced with interpretation.



  4. #4
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    It's Dr. Robson that will be doing the interpretation. I am crossing my fingers that they will be able to at give me something new to investigate!
    A quick tutorial on interval training: Conditioning your horse for eventing



  5. #5
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    Thermal imaging shows one thing and one thing only: temperature variations.

    For it to be a valid diagnostic tool you must have a "baseline" scan establish "normality" and then a "diagnostic" scan to establish deviations from normal.

    What are you trying to diagnose?

    The CA King of Torts, Melvin Belli, tried for a decade or more to get thermography established as a reliable indicator of pain. That would mean that all he had to do to claim "pain and suffering" was show the jury a picture. He was not successful as the science is just not reliable.

    In the Walker world the FDA has been trying to get it in place to use on suspected sored horses. Not complete progress there, either.

    Thermography is great for aiming artillery pieces and missiles. Probably of limited utility in diagnosing injury.

    G.
    Mangalarga Marchador: Uma Raça, Uma Paixão


    1 members found this post helpful.

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by Guilherme View Post
    Thermal imaging shows one thing and one thing only: temperature variations.

    For it to be a valid diagnostic tool you must have a "baseline" scan establish "normality" and then a "diagnostic" scan to establish deviations from normal.

    What are you trying to diagnose?

    The CA King of Torts, Melvin Belli, tried for a decade or more to get thermography established as a reliable indicator of pain. That would mean that all he had to do to claim "pain and suffering" was show the jury a picture. He was not successful as the science is just not reliable.

    In the Walker world the FDA has been trying to get it in place to use on suspected sored horses. Not complete progress there, either.

    Thermography is great for aiming artillery pieces and missiles. Probably of limited utility in diagnosing injury.

    G.
    Goodness there is so much misinformation in this post I don't even know where to start!

    First, you don't have to have a "baseline". Often it's used to look at asymmetrical heat patterns. It was used very successfully with my mare that every vet in God's creation said did not have a stifle problem, but the thermal camera clearly showed that her right stifle had inflammation compared to the left, and then an xray showed a OCD lesion that was overlooked for 3 years. On the same mare a "cold" reading clearly showed a cold right hind leg compared the the left, which could possibly indicate nerve problems to that leg. Sure enough it turned out the mare had mild neurological deficits in the right hind (which is why she never flexed off in that right stifle!). All this was first diagnosed by a thermal camera while traditional medicine missed it all. It gave us clear pictures of what might be going on, that was later confirmed by xrays.

    Another OTTB I was rehabbing had what looked like an all-over lameness issue. Thermal imaging showed definite inflammation in her feet with one worse than the other, and ruled out inflammation in the hind end where lameness was expected. Xrays confirmed the horse had foundered and had a fracture in one coffin bone. With corrective shoeing and rest the horse is nearly 100% sound. Totally non-invasive, we were able to spare the mare a long lameness eval with all the typical blocks, flexions, etc...

    These are just a couple examples. I have seen enough that I recently bought a camera, now to learn how to use it!!



  7. #7
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    From on high, Phineas Taylor Barnum is smiling. ymmv

    Personally, I think that an over the phone consultation with an animal psychic/communicator is about as useful. And much less expensive.......



  8. #8
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    What a bunch of BS. It's used successfully all over the world, for vet and human medicine.

    The only reason its so discouraged here in the US is it cuts into the veterinary/pharmaceutical/imaging profits.

    I know of no single non-invasive technology that is as useful. And big bonus is the fact that it is inexpensive with zero side-effects or possible complications. So of course people are scared of it.
    Last edited by Perfect Pony; Aug. 4, 2012 at 10:53 PM.



  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by Perfect Pony View Post
    What a bunch of BS. It's used successfully all over the world, for vet and human medicine.
    One more way to separate a chump from his/her money. ymmv.
    The only reason its so discouraged here in the US is it cuts into the veterinary/pharmaceutical/imagining profits.
    Spucatum Tauri aka: mushroom fertilizer.
    I know of no single non-invasive technology that is useful.
    So you admit that thermal imaging, while non-invasive, is useless. LOL!

    For the record, I think you might find the following non-invasive technologies useful:
    CAT scans
    MRI
    Radiographs
    oral thermometers
    glaucoma testing
    certain hemodynamic and heart moniters
    respirators

    Need I go on?
    And big bonus is the fact that it is inexpensive with zero side-effects or possible complications. So of course people are scared of it.
    Seriously? According to the OP its going to cost her $300.00 and that ain't chicken feed........ Hell, for not much of an investment anyone can buy an infra red thermometer and use it to detect temperature gradients. So what?

    Here's but one of many examples: http://www.factoryauthorizedoutlet.c...FQJrKgodWkgAug

    A number of medical authorities have concluded that thermography has no proven medical value, including the American Medical Association, the Office of Health Technology Assessment (OHTA), and the American Academy of Neurology. Based on a study by the OHTA, the Health Care Financing Administration (now the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services) withdrew Medicare coverage of thermography.
    (http://www.aetna.com/cpb/medical/data/1_99/0029.html)

    also see:
    http://www.fda.gov/ForConsumers/Cons.../ucm257499.htm
    http://www.chirobase.org/06DD/thermography.html



  10. #10
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    What a bunch of BS. It's used successfully all over the world, for vet and human medicine.

    The only reason its so discouraged here in the US is it cuts into the veterinary/pharmaceutical/imagining profits.
    (I assume you meant IMAGING profits?)

    If that's the case, I wonder why I have never once seen it used by a qualified physician on a human being, ever, even in the years I spent doing primary care and sports medicine.

    Contrary to the beliefs of the conspiracy theorists, the reason things aren't used in the US primarily has to do with lack of evidence. If a practitioner is interested in using it they are certainly free to do so, and to charge whatever they like for the examination. The fact that it isn't covered by insurance is a GIGANTIC clue that it is unvalidated and not held up by sufficient evidence.

    That's not to say it has no utility or no promise, but there are many modalities that share that description, and until they are proven useful, they are a no-go in the world of evidence-based medicine. And since human medical insurance companies hold the purse strings on what practitioners can use, they don't allow unproven and unvalidated tests to be done because it turns out to be a waste of resources as often as not.

    But hey, it's out there, it's for sale--one can buy a unit and do it themselves, why not?
    Click here before you buy.



  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by Perfect Pony View Post
    Goodness there is so much misinformation in this post I don't even know where to start!

    First, you don't have to have a "baseline". Often it's used to look at asymmetrical heat patterns. It was used very successfully with my mare that every vet in God's creation said did not have a stifle problem, but the thermal camera clearly showed that her right stifle had inflammation compared to the left, and then an xray showed a OCD lesion that was overlooked for 3 years. On the same mare a "cold" reading clearly showed a cold right hind leg compared the the left, which could possibly indicate nerve problems to that leg. Sure enough it turned out the mare had mild neurological deficits in the right hind (which is why she never flexed off in that right stifle!). All this was first diagnosed by a thermal camera while traditional medicine missed it all. It gave us clear pictures of what might be going on, that was later confirmed by xrays.

    Another OTTB I was rehabbing had what looked like an all-over lameness issue. Thermal imaging showed definite inflammation in her feet with one worse than the other, and ruled out inflammation in the hind end where lameness was expected. Xrays confirmed the horse had foundered and had a fracture in one coffin bone. With corrective shoeing and rest the horse is nearly 100% sound. Totally non-invasive, we were able to spare the mare a long lameness eval with all the typical blocks, flexions, etc...

    These are just a couple examples. I have seen enough that I recently bought a camera, now to learn how to use it!!
    Actually, I've had some professional experience with thermal imaging. I think I've posted quite accurately.

    Thermal imaging needs a baseline the way and EKG requires a baseline. For extra credit, why?

    You come close to being a "conspiracy theorist" with your reasoning on why it's not more widely used. Maybe you should research some the USDA reasons why it's not used to diagnose sored Walkers.

    No conspiracy there, I can guarantee.

    G.
    Mangalarga Marchador: Uma Raça, Uma Paixão



  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rick Burten View Post
    So you admit that thermal imaging, while non-invasive, is useless. LOL!
    Sorry, it's called a typo, I meant the "is as useful" in the field.

    fwiw, I have had enough experience with it to feel strongly about it doing no harm but being a useful tool among many, and my thoughts and experiences are backed up by Doctors and Vets I have talked to and worked with. Half a dozen vets failed in my case with their traditional invasive techniques of flexions and blocking, which I experienced with multiple horses are no more scientific or useful than thermography.

    The OP can make his or her own decision. It certainly does not harm, and can, and has, led to breakthroughs where traditional medicine and techniques fail.



  13. #13
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    Wellll, I wouldn't lose any sleep over not having a baseline EKG unless I was trying to split hairs over something very subtle. In which case one generally has the luxury of time to dig one up from somewhere. When something big and bad is going down and the EKG is showing something really obvious I don't waste any time lamenting the lack of a "baseline" tracing.

    By the same token, I would certainly not be surprised by a thermal image if it showed an enormous "hot spot" on a knee if my horse came in from the pasture dead lame with a horseshoe-shaped dent on that knee. But it would be sort of useless/redundant in that scenario, too. And having had a baseline would also be useless.

    But yes, in cases where I was trying to tease out something subtle when other modalities had failed to shed light, a baseline would be enormously helpful.

    I remember once when my old event mare was lame--it was midwinter and the snow was knee deep. She came in with snow up to her knees and hocks and there was a spot high up on her tendon, just below the knee, that was MELTED. Oh no! Suspensory! I figured it was Nature's thermal readout. Turned out to be an abscess near the toe.
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  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by deltawave View Post
    (I assume you meant IMAGING profits?)

    If that's the case, I wonder why I have never once seen it used by a qualified physician on a human being, ever, even in the years I spent doing primary care and sports medicine.
    Well, human physicians do have the luxury of having clients that can tell them "the inside of my ankle hurts".... for horses, it can be useful in picking up areas of concern so you can follow up with other things...MRI, rads etc....

    A collegue of mine has recently aquired one and is finding all kinds of fun things with it.... I'm tempted.....

    Lots of caveats with the use though.... you can get a lot of artifact if not done in well controlled situations...

    You don't need a baseline for most things as you generally compare to the other side for a control. Something amiss bilaterally could be an issue of course......


    And Rick, the units used are a little more elaborate than the digital thermometer..... but you know that.....

    And it should be relatively cheap.... I think 300 is way too much to charge, but that's just me......
    Turn off the computer and go ride!



  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by foggybok View Post
    ..... for horses, it can be useful in picking up areas of concern so you can follow up with other things...MRI, rads etc....
    Or not. As always, It Depends.....
    And Rick, the units used are a little more elaborate than the digital thermometer..... but you know that.....
    .
    Yes, I know that. And I also know that if it looks like mushroom fertilizer, and it smells like mushroom fertilizer, odds are that it is mushroom fertilizer and not beluga caviar.



  16. #16
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    Well, human physicians do have the luxury of having clients that can tell them "the inside of my ankle hurts".... for horses, it can be useful in picking up areas of concern so you can follow up with other things...MRI, rads etc....
    Point well taken and if this modality were used only in that fashion, as a piece of the puzzle and with full disclosure that it's literally groping for heat in a cold place, perhaps it's one more potential tool for practitioners. But I'd think a good lameness vet could do just as well without it. But the margin of error is potentially huge and not all things that hurt are "warm" and vice versa . . .
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  17. #17
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    I have used it in the past when we were sort of at a loss. I realize it is not definitive but it gave us an idea where to look however. I would not pay $300 for it though.



  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by deltawave View Post
    Point well taken and if this modality were used only in that fashion, as a piece of the puzzle and with full disclosure that it's literally groping for heat in a cold place, perhaps it's one more potential tool for practitioners. But I'd think a good lameness vet could do just as well without it. But the margin of error is potentially huge and not all things that hurt are "warm" and vice versa . . .
    You've put your finger right on the problem with thermography: it's just a heat picture. You must do other things to establish the "why" of the heat picture. Ole Melvin learned this to his dismay.

    I consulted with my personal medical advisor (wife, MD, Board Certified in Occupational and Aerospace Medicine) who says that while a baseline EKG is not absolutely necessary it is very, very useful in that not all "abnormalities" are pathological. She is an FAA Flight Surgeon and does a number of First Class flight physicals each year (on airline pilots, LifeStar pilots, etc.). There are very strict rules on what will or won't pass muster with the FAA. So a good "background" on this kind of patient is essential.

    She further advised that she had a "thermal" mammogram when we lived up North some lustrums back. She's not had one since. They are just not as good as the more traditional methods.

    Finally, as found by USDA, thermography must be done in a "clean" environment. Room temperature must be controlled and other "heat sources" eliminated as far as possible.

    In addition, the horse must have been "controlled" prior to the scan. Exercise or anxiety can easily change "heat patterns" and either create false positives or or hide pathological conditions.

    In short, there is a lot of art and expense to the employment of thermogrpahy and what you get back from it will require a lot of art to interpret.

    These difficulties, more than any "conspiracy," explain the fact that it's rarely used by serious clinicians.

    The OP can spend their money as they wish, but from a purely cost-benefit perspective it's likely not to be very productive.

    G.
    Mangalarga Marchador: Uma Raça, Uma Paixão



  19. #19
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    That just reminded me of something. My step brother got married in Mexico during the whole flu thing. It was awesome, there were like 10 people on our flight! On the way back they had a thermal camera pointed at the entrances looking for feverish people. Thought that was kind of interesting.



  20. #20
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    while a baseline EKG is not absolutely necessary it is very, very useful in that not all "abnormalities" are pathological
    And not all normal tracings indicate a lack of pathology.

    Flight surgeons have a much more difficult job than I do . . . the FAA doesn't really care for "in my opinion" very much. When I was in the Air Force there was only so far I could swing my influence there, too. They have their RULES and their GUIDELINES and their BOOK and that's that!
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