Help your horse achieve long-term health

Whether you are buying, selling, or would like to perform a routine diagnostic of a horse, NJ Infrared is a valuable resource for your horse's health and your finances.

Equine Infrared Scan

Research conducted on racehorses in the USA has shown that Thermal Imaging can identify areas of injury up to three weeks before your horse exhibits clinical symptoms. Horses are naturally prey animals, and mask injury to prevent predation. You might get the feeling that your horse is a little bit “off”, but not really know why -
Thermal Imaging can show you.

Whether you are buying, selling or would like to perform a routine diagnostic of a horse, NJInfrared.com is a valuable resource for your horse’s health and your finances.

Before Thermography, Veterinarians could only locate problems using traditional methods such as observation and palpation. Now, using Advanced EquineIR Thermography, abnormalities present stressed tissues even before damage occurs. This methodology has been developed and refined over the past twenty-five years and has been proven to be an effective imaging technique for the following:

  • Pre-Purchase
  • Hoof Balancing
  • Saddle Fit
  • Track Footing
  • Pre-Race
  • Joint Inflammation
  • General Diagnostics

NJInfrared.com partners with you, your veterinarian, farrier and saddle fitter to bring to light what the horses are trying to tell us, but cannot say. Our ultimate goal is to pinpoint areas of concern that are often times unknown so that the animal can get back on track.


What better tool to add to your pre-purchase package. You have a vet come out and evaluate the horse you are going to buy. Great! Its a smart decision. Now only if that horse could talk to you and say what past or present lameness issues they have. As we all know horses can’t speak…but they can through our Infrared images.

Any owner or trainer considering making the investment to purchase a horse can benefit from an infrared inspection. Even if the history of the horse is known, the thermal camera will provide impartial information on the horse’s overall condition and highlight any areas of concern or potential problems. The camera can also help to identify any existing problems that are effectively “masked” by anti inflammatory drugs. Alternatively, if you are selling a horse, the inspection can show the prospective buyers that the horse is in perfect condition.

An incorrectly balanced foot can have extensive knock-on effects on the leg and back. Imaging the sole of the hoof, and the thermal patterns seen on the hoof wall when weight bearing quickly show whether the hoof is unbalanced. Areas where the hoof wall is longer are under more pressure and friction than the corresponding side and therefore show as a warmer area. Inside the hoof, early abscess detection is possible, allowing pinpoint accuracy when draining. And Equine Thermography has proved a valuable tool in early research studies into laminitis.

A horse’s saddle should fit correctly and have even bearing on the horse’s back. A thermal review of the horse and the saddle can show when pressure points are unevenly distributed, therefore causing discomfort to the horse and the rider.

The correct fit of your saddle is paramount to your horse’s back health, and performance. Many “problem” horses are working in ill-fitting saddles, or with incorrectly fitted saddle cloths and pads. Equine Thermography can quickly and accurately show where the saddle or saddle pad is in contact with your horse’s back. Problems such as bridging, saddles which are too wide, or over or under flocked can all be picked up with Infrared imaging. When coupled with an image of the horse’s back, and both saddle and back thermographs before and after exercise are compared, you have a true view on whether your tack could be leading to or exacerbating problems.

Additionally, Without knowing, many of us are “one sided”, sitting more heavily to either the right or left rather than evenly spreading our weight. This can affect your horse’s way of going, and is often very subtle, going unnoticed. Imaging your horse’s back and the underneath of the saddle before and after a schooling session can provide you and your instructor with valuable insight for your training.

I’m sure anyone who has spent a day at the race track has heard the infamous bell or siren that indicates a “break down”. Most of these injuries are catastrophic!

One of our success stories comes from a horse known by the name of California Flag (CF). CF was due to race on a Tuesday and our EquineIR network was called out to do a scan before the weekend. Our EquineIR Network located a fracture in the cannon bone that was followed up by an X-ray. Sure enough! The trainer and veterinarian said “you nailed it”! CF was pulled from the track.

We call this a win-win-win. We won because we were able to locate and detect lameness quickly. CF won because he most likely would have “broken down” on the track. But the most important win came later in CF’s career when he won the Breeders Cup for $1,000,000! This was the win for the owner.
These are the kind of success stories we live for!

Very distinctive thermal patterns are present where joint injuries or degeneration is present, or has been present. In chronic pain syndromes or chronic degenerative processes (e.g. arthritis), there is initially an increase in blood flow which presents as an increase in joint temperature. Over time the horse will stop using the joint and the inflammation will decrease, but the pain remains, therefore an increase in sympathetic tone and vasoconstriction occurs and the joint appears cooler than previously. All of these subtle changes can be detected and monitored using equine thermal imaging. Courses of treatment for chronic conditions can also be objectively evaluated with equine thermography, and adjusted as appropriate.

Equine Thermography is also invaluable in detecting lesions in ligaments and tendons, and as an aid to optimizing recovery time, and getting your horse back to work as soon as possible and practicable. But, there may be problems brewing even before you can see or feel anything.

Studies in horses have shown that equine thermography can detect tendon and ligament injuries up to three weeks before the horse would demonstrate any clinical symptoms. Often the rider will just get the feeling that their mount is a “bit off” but there’s nothing there that you can really pinpoint – yet. This is because, as a prey animal, horses instinctively mask any injuries to prevent predators singling them out for attack. The human hand can detect temperature differentials of around 2 degrees while a temperature differential of just 1 degree can result from sympathetic dysfunctions, meaning they may be overlooked. The camera we use to produce equine infrared images is 40 times more sensitive than the human hand.

When bringing a performance horse back into work, commencing fitness programs, or resuming jumping after a break in the season, Equine Thermography is an indispensable tool in ensuring early detection of problems.

If I have a thermal camera inspection, do I still need to get my vet to come out?
Our objective is to work closely with the Owner / Trainer of any horse that is indicating areas of distress to ensure that it receives the best possible treatment. A thermal examination will identify areas of heat anomalies that indicate further investigation should be carried out and we will leave you with a full report including both thermal pictures and our Interpret networks suggestions based on the results. We would always recommend that your vet is consulted before you undertake any treatment as a result of anomalies found during the infrared inspection.

Will the inspection hurt or distress the horse?
No. The infrared inspection is non invasive and non contact. The Thermographer will examine the horse using a thermal camera, very similar in appearance to a video camera, and does not need to touch the horse at any time. We would prefer the owner to hold the horse during the inspection.

How long does a scan take to complete?
A typical scan can be completed within 30 minutes. Additional time will be required for saddle fit imaging.

How long will it take for the horse to recover after the inspection?
There is no recovery period after an examination as the horse does not receive any treatment, the inspection is purely visual using the thermal camera. Normal work or activities can be resumed straight away if required.

Do I have to sedate my horse?
Because the examination is just a visual inspection and there is no contact with the horse, no form of sedation is required. However it will produce clearer images that are easier to interpret if the horse will stand still for a short while to allow the inspection to take place.

Does the camera apply heat to the horse or is there any physical contact?
The infrared inspection is completely non contact and non-intrusive, and the thermal camera does not come into contact with the horse. The technology works using the heat emitted by the horse to produce a thermal image which can be used to identify problem areas.

Are there any special requirements required of the owner prior to scanning?
Yes, we send the owner a preparation sheet prior to the scan date. The power of our network comes from the research behind the preparation process. Better preparation = Better Images. For basics the horse should be clean, dry, and settled in a stable away from either cold drafts or hot humid areas. We will speak to the owner about requirements prior to the consultation.
“Artifacts” or anomalies can be found in the image when the proper preparation procedures are not followed. To the untrained eye these can give a “false positive”, so experience and training are the keys to producing accurate thermograms for interpretation. For example, if legs have been bandaged, or blisters or liniments have been used, they will show up as areas with increased heat. External environmental factors can also play a part. If the animal has been in the sunlight or lying on one side, this will again affect the image, therefore a strict preparation protocol must be followed before each consultation and time is spent carefully taking a history and examining the environment.

Do I have to bring my horse to you?
No. We will travel to you, this ensures that the horse is relaxed among its own surroundings and alleviates any stress caused by travel.

United Infrared Network

NJInfrared.com is a member in good-standing of the United Infrared Network, which is the largest network of multi-disciplined infrared thermographers in the world. As a member, we receive support for our customers from industry experts with decades of combined experience.