Thermal image of leg from PerfectPrime thermal camera

Veterinary Uses For Thermal Camera

Indeed, veterinary thermal camera is one tool you can’t afford to miss if you’re a serious animal lover. It won’t matter if you’re a proud owner of a couple of canines. Or a breeder of racehorses who dreams of raising top equine athletes. For the Kentucky Derby. Thermal imaging and the prospects of infrared light, maybe, is new terrain for you. We understand that. Right from the get-go, you may not see an infrared camera’s importance; getting it may not be your top priority. But if you’re passionate about what’s best for your prized animals, you should dig deeper. You see, you could be putting your animals into a lot of risks sans the device. Unnecessary risk. Come to think of it, if all veterinarians all over the United States would add the thermal imaging tool to their arsenal, total clinic efficiency would soar in no time. By leaps and bounds.


It’s true. New approaches always meet substantial resistance. Today, more people associate IR cameras with firefighting. Or home inspections. And hardly with animal care. But the times are changing. It’s like ultrasound in the ’80s. It was unheard of. Only a few animal doctors used ultrasound technology then. Of course, you can just count by your fingers vet meds who aren’t familiar to one today. Leading the charge for thermal imaging are the big animal research organizations. For decades now, these dedicated research institutions have made the most of infrared tech. And slowly yet steadily, the general use of thermography in the field of animal care is increasing. CT scans, MRI’s and X-rays offer tremendous benefits in the proper treatment of our animals. But there are distinct advantages that only a veterinary thermal camera can put on the table. That no other diagnostic tool can. Here are 5 of them you can max on. Read on.


Putting Your Animal’s Best Foot Forward

Had animals learned to talk, taking good care of them would be a walk in the park. Though in retrospect, the prospects of which may be scary. It can open a can of worms. Imagine how our courts would line up with all sorts of complaints if all your furry friend can voice out man’s misdeeds. This is where the thermal camera for veterinary purposes is spot on. It allows you to have a thorough scan of an animal’s body in a jiffy. Even better, IR devices are in consonance with the handheld trend most apparent in smartphones. These days, you can scan an animal for thermal anomalies using your handheld phone.


  1. For Optimal Performance

Sports exacts a lot of pressure from the animals involved. More often than not, to the detriment of a four-legged beast. Ever since the Romans of long ago made chariot racing a spectacle, all sorts of animal races have sprouted in the face of planet Earth. If you’re into horse racing in America, you simply can’t put words at loads of fun and excitement winning gives you. But you know even the strongest of horses can have a bad day. Not being able to grasp what ails your prized animal can be a formula for defeat in the hands of your closest competitor. Or worse, a disaster for your thoroughbred.

Not with a veterinary thermal camera at your beck and call.

You see you really can’t rely on a visual check up these days. This is because horses mask their pain as a survival mechanism. Research has shown that clinical lameness manifests in a horse after 3 weeks tendons and joints display inflammation. Which simply means it may be too late to attend to a lame horse.

The good news is you can actually prevent lameness setting in using the IR thermal imaging. You can use the device to detect inflammation on critical areas. Sore points on palpation, for instance, are top of the list. Also, you can utilize the thermal cam to detect subclinical inflammation - areas of a noticeable increase in blood flow even without outward pain. Such methodology brings in a slew of benefits when applied to small animals. Indeed, animal thermography can give a sigh of relief to dog and cat owners who by intuition senses something is off in their furry friend.

 dog thermal camera veterinary

  1. To Detect Disease

For decades now, infrared imaging has been heavily utilized to check dental issues and even injuries in aquatic animals. In this respect, thermology is also beneficial to zoo animals. It allows zoo keepers to detect animal health issues without having to directly handle an animal. You certainly wouldn’t want to manhandle a lion to check an aching tooth. Or for that matter, a giant croc.

With a veterinary thermal camera, you need not do an exploratory surgery just to confirm the presence of health issues.

Even cattle and food animal benefit a lot from IR thermal imaging. With an infrared cam, you can easily detect temperature increase without having to touch the animal. Or invade its body. This is how breast mastitis so common in dairy cattle can be easily contained.

The list goes on. Detection of musculoskeletal abnormalities and osteoarthritis is possible with the thermal imaging. That goes for horses and for small animals. Thus, caretakers can easily determine if a workdog (e.g., sled dog) is nursing a shoulder injury. That goes true for injuries in the tendon for sport dogs. Even such deeply-seated internal anomalies as hyperthyroidism can be on the radar with the IR camera in tow.

Best of all, you can monitor treatment progress and adjust therapy accordingly. In short, you get a clear picture of the progress.


  1. To Foster Business and Perimeter Security

It’s easier to get into the business when you have the veterinary thermal camera doing your bidding. Not only is it best to foster a healthy animal tribe, but thermal imaging also lets you instantly check animals for sale without even touching them. Buying a thoroughbred can be a daunting experience for instance. Even the most veteran of experts can be fooled by a horse standing proud right in front of you. But not with an IR camera all ready to check if there are no major thermal imbalances within the animal. So you get your money’s worth. In full.

Additionally, you get better perimeter security with the IR camera. Which is a great advantage when you’re keeping a big farm. It would be literally impossible for thieves to hide in the shadows for instance. Think of the device as your sixth sense.

Moreover, this also means easier tracking of lost animals. Once a heat map is generated, a large hot body should make everything obvious.


Thermal Camera Advantage over Other Diagnostic Tools

A thermal camera is comprehensive. In this sense, it leaves no stone unturned. When you apply it to your animal, you get to check to the fullest extent. Reason enough why detecting even bone problems or abnormal tissue growth is possible. Of course, you have to take a closer look at the right thermal camera model.

When you need pinpoint accuracy, a vet IR camera should be spot on. This way, you can trace the seat of pain in a matter of minutes. Something you can hardly do with other diagnostic tools (e.g., X-rays, CT scans). Traditional diagnostics simply takes time. And more often than not, it’s targeted diagnostics.

The ability to identify soft tissue as well as in bone issues makes the thermal camera a powerful tool. It can even assist in the detection of nerve dysfunction, something impossible for traditional diagnostic tools.

Plus, you can check on the progress of an animal under your care. This way, you would know how fast or how slow a stricken animal is healing. And adjust accordingly.

Then again, you must remember that you won’t have to bother the animal in question just to get the readings you need. Being non-invasive, thermal imaging lets your animal stay in comfort even when under observation. No nasty exploratory surgery to get the data you need.

Even better, you can monitor the animal from a distance. Giving you a greater advantage when dealing with a violent-tempered cow for instance. Know that pain can inject moodiness in animals making them a challenge to deal with. Not if an IR cam can help it.

Also, you won’t need an anesthesiologist with thermology. And that means no added costs for you. You simply point the camera and fire away.

Lastly, you get to bring the testing to the animal. Not the other way around. So you eliminate undue stress for your prized possession.

 cat thermal camera veterinary


How a Veterinary Thermal Camera Works

 A veterinary thermal camera is like any other thermal camera.

It works in 3 simple steps.


1) Creation of a thermogram.

A thermogram is the detailed temperature pattern of the objects in view of the camera. To get this, a special thermal lens gathers all the infrared light from the field of view. The gathered light is then scanned by an array of infrared detectors which produces the thermogram. All this happens at a fraction of a second.

2) Processing of the thermogram for display

For effective processing, the thermogram is translated into electric impulses. These impulses are then passed to an SPU (signal processing unit), a specialized circuit board where these signals are transformed into data ready for display.

3) The display.

Then, the SPU sends processed info to the display where various colors are used to represent varying levels of thermal energy. And voila! Your thermal camera image.


Note that a powerful model allows you to see even the slightest changes in thermal radiation. This allows you to monitor sudden changes in blood flow.

Skin blood flow, for instance, reflects the state of an animal’s health. With a powerful camera, you can determine the extent of an injury. And adjust your care.

So powerful are thermal cameras for veterinary purposes, some can detect temperature changes even less than 5 degrees centigrade. That allows you to detect thermal stress happening in the animal. A powerful statement showing how useful a veterinary thermal camera is for the animal kingdom.

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