Osteoarthritis, Generalized – Equine


Irish Sports Horse, 8-year-old


This patient had a history of a right hind limb lameness at a trot.

Physical Examination

When lunged on a soft surface a grade 2/10 right hind limb lameness was observed on both reins. When lunged on a firm surface a grade 2/10 fore limb lameness was observed on the inside limb on each rein.

Physiological Screen with Digital Thermal Imaging

Digital thermal images were captured with a Digatherm IR camera.
Thermal asymmetry was noted in anterior to posterior images of the hind limbs (Fig. 1).
In an image of the patient’s back, an area of hyperthermia was noted in the posterior thoracic area (Fig. 2).

Additional Diagnostics

Nuclear scintigraphy studies and radiographs were recommended based on the digital thermal images.
Mild remodeling of the left caudal thoracic articular processes of T14-16 was identified.
An osseous spur at the dorsoproximal aspect of the middle phalanx of the right rear limb demonstrated osteoarthritis of the proximal interphalangeal joint.

Value of the Digital Thermal Images

This patient presented with a right hind limb lameness. A comprehensive physiological screen with digital thermal imaging confirmed the need for further diagnostic imaging of the right hind limb and the previously unidentified need for diagnostic imaging of the thoracic spine.

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