Wed 23 April 2014

Evaluation of thermographic imaging of the limbs of healthy dogs.

Loughin CA, Marino DJ.
Department of Surgery, Long Island Veterinary Specialists, 163 S Service Rd, Plainview, NY 11803.

Am J Vet Res. 2007 Oct;68(10):1064-9. 

Objective: To describe a thermographic imaging protocol, identify normal thermographic patterns (ie, color map reflecting the skin temperature distribution) for various regions of interest (ROIs) of dog limbs, and evaluate effects of clipping the coat on thermographic patterns and limb temperature in healthy dogs.

Animals: 10 healthy dogs.

Procedures: Each dog was thermographically evaluated in the same room (ambient temperature, 21 degrees C) via ROIs that included cranial and caudal views of the body, full lateral body views, full views of the limbs, and views of various limb regions. After initial imaging, the coat was clipped on the forelimbs and hind limbs only. Each dog was then evaluated 15 and 60 minutes and 24 hours after clipping by use of the same protocol.

Results: For each ROI within a category (intact coat and each time point after clipping), mean temperatures were similar among the 10 dogs. Pairwise comparisons for 15 and 60 minutes and 24 hours established patterns of temperature stabilization among the 3 time points. Temperatures did not differ significantly between the left and right limbs. There was a mean success rate of 75% for use of image pattern analysis for recognition of similar thermographic patterns in the forelimbs and hind limbs.

Conclusions and Clinical Relevance: Thermography can be a viable, noninvasive imaging modality that provides consistent images with reproducible thermal patterns in ROIs examined in healthy dogs. Although the coat had a predictable influence to decrease the mean temperature, thermal patterns remained fairly consistent after the coat was clipped. 

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