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This article was originally published on Taranet for those interested in equine thermography.

What is equine thermography?

Equine Thermography, otherwise known as equine thermal imaging, is a non-invasive method of measuring heat emissions from the body. Using thermal imaging cameras on horses (or warm-blooded animals) allows for the discovery of abnormal thermal patterns, the identification of potential error sources and the assessment of training performance.

A close-up thermal image of a horse and it’s handler.

Equine thermal imaging reports can help provide guidance to qualified Veterinary Surgeons, indicating areas of concern and assisting with medical diagnosis and treatment.

Benefits of Equine Thermography

Once thermal images have been captured, trained equine thermal imaging technicians (thermographers) will be able to accurately measure heat emissions from a horse’s body, allowing them to identify problem areas such as:

  • Nerve damage
  • Bone injury
  • Undiagnosed lameness
  • Muscle damage
  • Soft-tissue damage
  • Tendon stress
  • Incorrect saddle fit

Thermal imaging technicians are also able to monitor injury, recovery and equine performance in general. This makes equine thermography an invaluable tool for trainers, practicing veterinarians and physiotherapists.

Equine thermography is often a significantly cheaper alternative to conventional body scans, x-rays and MRI’s. In addition to this, veterinary professionals can use equine thermography as a non-contact tool for the static assessment of stall-bound horses. This is especially useful for conducting an indicative analysis on horses that are temperamental or not previously ridden.

Thermal images captured during an equine scan.

Remember – It is an offence for any person, other than the owner of the animal, to treat an animal unless the permission of the vet in charge of the case or to whom the animal would be referred is sought and obtained. A Veterinary Surgeon is extremely unlikely to refer any customers to you unless you are trained by a reputable training centre.

Are qualifications needed?

Strictly speaking no. However, recognised qualifications are a great way to demonstrate knowledge and competence for those new to industry.

Those interested in equine thermography should however be wary of organisations offering ‘accredited’ training. In the UK, accredited training courses can only be delivered by organisations that have been accredited by UKAS, the United Kingdom Accreditation Service. Currently, there are no UKAS accredited organisations offering equine thermography courses. However, many qualifications are still well-recognised within industry.

Equine Qualifications

The iRed Academy is the UK’s largest provider of ISO certified thermal imaging courses. They have a range of industry experts teaching the practice of infrared thermography for a wide variety of applications including buildings, aerial and equine.

Their courses require no previous experience or equipment. Thermal imaging cameras are provided for the duration of the course, and a practical exercise including assessed equine scanning in a local stables is included within the course cost.

Their leading equine course, the Equine Thermography Category 1, is suitable for candidates with no prior veterinary or thermography experience as it is for practicing veterinarians, animal physiotherapists, laser therapists and other professionals in related fields. The course topics include:

  • Principles of Infrared Thermography
  • Equipment and Data Acquisition
  • Setting up a Thermal Imaging Camera
  • Thermal Image Processing
  • Basic Reporting for Equine Scans
  • Basic Equine Pattern Recognition
  • Pre-scan, scan and post-scan procedures

About the iRed Academy

As a training centre, iRed is approved by the British Institute of Non-Destructive Testing, the UK Thermography Authority and the Awarding Body of the Built Environment. In addition to this, iRed works closely with the University of Portsmouth to pioneer new techniques and practices for industry.

In operation since 2002, even before thermography had been accepted as a mainstream tool, iRed has always used the newest techniques, technologies and industry practices to deliver thermal solutions for a variety of applications throughout the UK and around the world.

Equine Thermography Courses

iRed equine thermography courses are taught by Elaine Hall, a certified thermographer and equine specialist. Elaine has trained globally with some of the world’s leading veterinary thermographers; and is an active member of the UKTA, Veterinary Thermal Imaging Society, American Academy of Thermology (AAT) and International Equine Thermography Association.

To find out more about iRed’s range of Equine Thermography courses, visit ired.co.uk/equine-thermography



Founded in 2002, iRed® have helped thousands of businesses access the benefits of emerging technologies, providing cheaper, faster and safer inspection methods for a wide range of industries.