Veterinary Guidelines for Infrared Thermography 

American Academy of Thermology


General Statement

This guideline was prepared by members of the American Academy Of Thermology (AAT) as a guide to aid the performance of medical infrared imaging in evaluating patients with neuromusculoskeletal complaints

Statement of Need

Heat is a cardinal sign of inflammation. Vasomotor tone and vasomotor capacitance plays a significant role in thermoregulation, clinical symptomatology and manifestations of systemic illness. In the Animal Kingdom the clinical manifestation of pain can be detrimental to survival. As such, changes in the previously mentioned vascular parameters may be the only clinical signs shown.

Infrared Thermal Imaging is the only non-invasive technology available to image and map circulatory changes associated with these disorders. It can play an important role in clinical diagnosis and enhance the clinical examination. But infrared imaging may also be valuable to document musculoskeletal stress caused by training as well as circulatory effects of therapeutic modalities. In addition, infrared imaging can be used as an aid in the regulation of the animal industry.

Other technologies such as Radiography, Ultrasonography, Scintigraphy, and MRI do not provide the same information offered by Medical Thermal imaging. The clinical application of Infrared Thermal may be instrumental in understanding the pathophysiology associated with veterinary musculoskeletal disease and improve patient outcomes.

The mission and bylaws of the American Academy of Thermology support the incorporation of thermal imaging into veterinary clinical medicine. The AAT recognizes a current and ongoing need to promulgate continuing education in the science and methods of thermal imaging and the clinical application of heat asymmetry patterns obtained from thermal imaging among both veterinarians and thermal technologists.


 Veterinary medicine is a unique branch of the health sciences that involves multiple species many of which are not domesticated. Regardless, any can be dangerous to the examiner. Furthermore, veterinary patients do not seek medical attention, rather the owner, rider, trainer, or caretaker seeks medical advice based on their observations. Thus, veterinary examinations must be very thorough with attention to basic clinical signs that provide insight to potential inflammatory conditions. Unfortunately, many veterinary patients can only be examined using anesthesia or sedation. The ability of infrared imaging to detect changes in the heat patterns of skin make it an invaluable tool in the clinical assessment of veterinary patients with certain types of problems. The thermal examination can be performed from the cranium to the base of the spine, from the torso to the extremities, including the digits and may include the oral and abdominal cavities.




  1. Veterinary and Equine Thermal Imaging Certification
  2. Infrared Training Center (ITC) Certification IR00
  3. Infrared Training Center (ITC) Certification IR45
  4. Infrared Training Center (ITC) Certification TH10
  5. Infrared Training Center (ITC) Certification TH40
  6. Infrared Training Center (ITC) Certification TH50
  7. Infrared Training Center (ITC) Certification TH60


                      BEFORE TREATMENT                                          AFTER TREATMENT

Teatment provided by Dr. Erin McQueen(Principle Investigator of MACARI-7 Research Study) of McQueen Animal Chiropractic and Research Institute

Research on Veterinary Thermography

  1. Eddy, A. L., L. M. Van Hoogmoed, and J. R. Snyder. "The role of thermography in the management of equine lameness." The Veterinary Journal 162.3 (2001): 172-181.
  2. Von Schweinitz, D. Graf. "Thermographic diagnostics in equine back pain."Veterinary Clinics of North America Equine Practice 15 (1999): 161-178.
  3. Ciutacu, Otilia, A. Tanase, and I. Miclaus. "IGITAL INFRARED THERMOGRAPHY IN ASSESSING SOFT TISSUES INJURIES ON SPORT EQUINES." Bulletin of University of Agricultural Sciences and Veterinary Medicine Cluj-Napoca. Veterinary Medicine 63.1-2 (2008).
  4. Purohit, R. C., and M. D. McCoy. "Thermography in the diagnosis of inflammatory processes in the horse." American journal of veterinary research 41.8 (1980): 1167-1174.
  5. Turner, T. A. "Thermography as an aid to the clinical lameness evaluation."The Veterinary clinics of North America. Equine practice 7.2 (1991): 311-338.
  6. Tunley, B. V., and F. M. D. Henson. "Reliability and repeatability of thermographic examination and the normal thermographic image of the thoracolumbar region in the horse." Equine veterinary journal 36.4 (2004): 306-312.
  7. Turner, Tracy A. "Diagnostic thermography." The Veterinary clinics of North America. Equine practice 17.1 (2001): 95-113.
  8. Mccafferty, Dominic J. "The value of infrared thermography for research on mammals: previous applications and future directions." Mammal Review37.3 (2007): 207-223.
  9. Turner, T. A., R. C. Purohit, and J. F. Fessler. "Thermography: a review in equine medicine." The Compendium on continuing education for the practicing veterinarian (1986).
  10. Yanmaz, Latif Emrah, Zafer Okumus, and Elif Dogan. "Instrumentation of Thermography and its Applications in Horses." Journal of animal and veterinary advances 6.7 (2007): 858-862.
  11. Delahanty, D. D., and J. R. Georgi. "THERMOGRAPHY IN EQUINE MEDICINE." Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association 147 (1965): 235.
  12. von Schweinitz, Dietrich G. "Thermographic evidence for the effectiveness of acupuncture in equine neuromuscular disease." Acupuncture in Medicine16.1 (1998): 14-17.
  13. Weil, M., L. F. Litzke, and R. Fritsch. "[Diagnostic validity of thermography of lameness in horses]." Tierarztliche Praxis. Ausgabe G, Grosstiere/Nutztiere 26.6 (1998): 346-354.
  14. Smith, Wendell M. "Applications of thermography in veterinary medicine."Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences 121.1 (1964): 248-254.
  15. Turner, Tracy A. "Diagnostic thermography." The Veterinary clinics of North America. Equine practice 17.1 (2001): 95-113.
  16. Clark, J. A., and K. Cena. "The potential of infra-red thermography in veterinary diagnosis." Veterinary Record 100.19 (1977): 402-404.
  17. Strömberg, B. E. R. N. D. T. "Thermography in veterinary medicine."Bibliotheca radiologica 6 (1975): 231.
  18. Harper, D. L. "Thermography in veterinary medicine." Inframation 1.4 (2000): 1-6.