Ultrasound examinations or “scans” are an excellent diagnostic tool to help diagnoses any number of physical abnormalities that can occur in horses.
An ultrasound examination is a medical technique that uses high energy sound waves to image or view internal structures. Sound waves are omitted by a hand held probe which is placed on a horses body. Structures inside the body with difference densities i.e. ‘ tendons, bone, fluid and ligaments reflect some sound waves back to the probe. These reflections are used to create a digital image of the structures being scanned. Bone appears white, fluid appears black, and most other structures show up in a grey scale.
Ultrasound examination are performed in nearly every facet of equine practice from the:
- Reproductive tract
- Respiratory system
- Musculoskeletal system
- Cardiovascular system
- Gastrointestinal tract
- As well as many miscellaneous examinations
The most common use of ultrasound in equine practice is looking at tendons on the lower limbs. Good quality high resolution ultrasound can detect lesions from early onset, and training, treatment and recovery can be monitored during these critical times to assess healing.