Veterinary patients do not seek medical attention, rather their presentation is a result of symptomatic observations made by their owner, trainer, or caregiver. Digital thermographic images do not depict temperature but measure the radiated energy from the targeted tissue. Digital tomography, by definition, is a compilation and analysis of this radiated electromagnetic energy using a digital thermal imaging device. Different levels of this radiated energy are represented as different levels of color on a video monitor. The resulting image produced by this equipment is referred to as a thermogram.
Thermograms are objective, noninvasive, qualitative and quantitative in evaluating radiated energy from a patient’s tissues. A thermogram provides a map of the area being examined. Structure and function (as well as abnormalities associated with these,) trauma and acute and chronic conditions will change the blood flow to the areas examined. The result is differences in color on the thermogram.
The Benefits of Digital Thermal Imaging and Veterinary Medicine
• Provides a visual physiologic map of the area being examined
• Provides a precise area for examination and a visual of inflammation or lack of circulation, eliminating the guesswork of where the injury is located
• The mapping of thermal gradients through thermography has the ability to visually illustrate neural irritation and dysfunction
•It is quick, easy to perform, completely noninvasive, and non-painful to the patient
•It can lead our doctors to a quicker diagnosis with improved visualization of dysfunctional areas
Digital thermography also has the ability to illustrate nerve irritation or dysfunction. An example of this would be an irritated or entrapped nerve (nerve root signature) in the neck of a Dachshund, as evidenced by distinct differences in radiated energy from the extremities. When assessing the patient, the thermogram is assessed for symmetry. Abnormalities in symmetry can represent areas of inflammation, lack of blood supply, or pain.
When digital thermography is combined with a class IV laser, it allows for the area being treated to be clearly defined.
Some of these benefits include:
• Detection of areas requiring further evaluation and or laser therapy
• Identification of secondary areas, providing a more holistic approach to laser treatments
• Monitoring application of the laser therapy to the tissue.
• Evaluation of the progress of the laser therapy on subsequent visits
• Discovery of potential musculoskeletal injuries
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