Technology is always changing, and so are the uses for it. For example, thermal imaging is now used in many occupations, not just by the military. Firefighters use it to find a point of entry that is at a lower temperature, saving lives. Electricians use it to find hotspots in wiring that are behind drywall, saving you holes in your wall. And now your veterinarian can use it to find inflammation and pain in your pets! 

What Is Thermal Imaging?

Infrared thermography (thermal imaging) is the process of using a thermal camera. It captures images of the infrared waves, or “heat signature,” that an object or living thing emits. These images have many different colors, with each color representing its own temperature.  

Thermal Imaging Can Show Us Your Pet’s Pain 

As you probably know, pets are experts at masking their pain. While hiding pain is helpful for wild animals that need to avoid predators, it makes caring for a domestic pet much harder. 

Pets who are in pain are more likely to stop eating, spend more time alone, or even lash out at people they love. Cats and dogs cannot tell you when they are hurting, so it is important to keep a watchful eye for behavior changes. 

The thermal imaging camera used by veterinarians can pinpoint hotspots of pain in your pet. This eliminates a lot of guesswork and helps us find the source of pain sooner. Quick diagnosis means less time healing and more time to spend playing and snuggling. 

Thermal imaging is the perfect tool for helping pets who have chronic issues like arthritis or pets who are prone to developing painful conditions like sprains.

How Thermal Imaging Finds Pain

Pain is often accompanied by inflammation because the body is sending more blood to the injured spot to aid in healing. This gives off extra heat that can be picked up by a thermal imaging camera. 

Thermal imaging technology can detect as little as one degree of difference in temperature. It is much more accurate than human hands, which require at least a three-degree difference to feel the change in temperature. 

How Do Vets Use Thermal Imaging for Diagnosis?

Thermal imaging is most helpful when it is one of many tools used to make a diagnosis. Once the source of pain is located, your veterinarian will use other diagnostic methods to determine why your pet is in pain and create a care plan to treat them. 

Care plans are different for every animal and every ailment. Some pets may need physical therapy, while others may need medications or even surgery. Your veterinarian will walk you through all the available options once they know what is bothering your pet. 

Extraordinary Veterinary Care in Gilbert 

Loving your pet is easy, and finding excellent veterinary care should be, too. Here at East Valley Animal Hospital, we have an experienced staff, the latest equipment, and a newly renovated facility to help your pet live a long and healthy life.

Our veterinarians use many different tools to diagnose illnesses and keep your pet free from pain. From cold laser therapy to diagnostic tools like thermal imaging, we keep up to date on all the latest technology that can keep your pet stay healthy and live longer. 

If you have noticed any signs of pain in your pet, or recent changes in behavior, please bring them in for an examination. Contact us today to make an appointment.




Images used under creative commons license – commercial use (6/21/23). Photo by Tim King on Unsplash