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Title: Veterinary applications of infrared thermography

item REKANT, STEVEN - Oak Ridge Institute For Science And Education (ORISE)
item LYONS, MARK - Ohio Department Of Agriculture
item Pacheco Tobin, Juan
item Arzt, Jonathan
item Rodriguez, Luis

Submitted to: American Journal of Veterinary Research
Publication Type: Review Article
Publication Acceptance Date: 4/14/2015
Publication Date: 1/12/2016
Citation: Rekant, S., Lyons, M., Pacheco Tobin, J., Arzt, J., Rodriguez, L.L. 2016. Veterinary applications of infrared thermography. American Journal of Veterinary Research. 77:98-107.

Interpretive Summary: Infrared thermography measures heat emitted by anything from buildings to animals. The technology is already in use for electrical, mechanical, and construction professions. Electricians can use it to identify loose connections and home inspectors can find insulation leaks. Its uses in veterinary medicine are still being discovered. While other temperature-measuring technologies are already used, infrared thermography is quick and can be done without touching the animal. Some diseases, such as rabies, cause generalized fever – infrared thermography can be used to detect those. Other diseases, including foot-and-mouth disease and mastitis, cause inflammation in a specific area. Infrared thermography can identify those problem spots, helping the veterinarian diagnose the disease and focus on that area. This paper discusses the relevant biological concepts, reviews the published literature on veterinary applications of infrared thermography, and speculates on future uses.

Technical Abstract: Abnormal temperature is a major indicator of disease; infrared thermography (IRT) can assess changes in surface temperature quickly and remotely. This technology can be applied to myriad diseases in veterinary medicine, ranging across host species and disease etiologies. It can also be used to determine physiologic status, such as measuring feed efficiency or diagnosing pregnancy. Infrared thermography has been applied to welfare situations, including detection of soring practices and monitoring stress responses. This review addresses the physics and physiology that make IRT possible, focusing on heat and thermoregulation. It then discusses the variety of uses for IRT in veterinary medicine, including disease detection, physiologic monitoring, welfare assessment, and potential future directions. Infrared thermography offers a quick, remote diagnostic and screening tool with many applications in veterinary medicine.