Thank heavens for insurance is all I can say! Anyway, a year on, we had made plenty of progress with her ridden work but still have niggling issues too. Having paid out already for investigations, the insurance wouldn't cover this again, but we did find an alternative - veterinary thermal imaging. Not quite the same as a bone scan, but much less invasive, hundreds of pounds cheaper, able to carry out from the comfort of the barn, and gives a really good overall picture of what's going on with the soft tissues that you wouldn't otherwise be able to see.
Jo Welsby, the VTI Hampshire rep, came out to take some images of Ruby. What we found was really interesting - and I've included some of the more telling images below. The next step was for Jo to consult with my vet and try to establish between them a) what the images showed b) how they shold be interpretted and c) what should our next steps be to treat, if at all.
The main findings were:
- The left sacro-iliac joint, a serious weakness which we treated does not show on this report suggesting treatment was successful.
- The caudal thoracic dorsal spinous processes, which we have previously x rayed/ treated with refitting saddles and thought did not warrant further treatment. Inflammation remains evident.
- The left fore pedal bone was highlighted previously with x-ray; on imaging there was no sign of rotation, but enhancement within left hoof capsule, more marked medial aspect, may relate to soft tissue structures if there is imbalance in the foot.
- The right hock in the talo-calcaneal joint which we previously x-rayed but couldn’t see any changes on and thought could be
secondary to LH S-I joint strain. Enhancement is still evident overlying area of TC joint on right side.
- Left hind significantly 'under perfused' when compared - this was explained as commonly linked to sacro-iliac pathology, particularly where the joint has been medicated.
Amazing that so much can be learned from a few images that took about 30 minutes, and so interesting to compare with Ruby's x-rays and scans from a year ago. Based upon what we already knew, and what the thermal images showed, my vet was able to suggest 'next steps.' These included the possibility of injecting the right hock which was thought to have been compensating for her asymmetry before, and further examining or treating the thoracic dorsal spinous processes.
Not only that but we had Blue imaged at the same time; when he first arrived with us in Feb 2013, he was quite unlevel behind which we then treated with the help of my fab Mctimoney practitioner and the brilliant Sorcha from Equilibrium Veterinary Physiotherapy. His images showed enhancement over the left gluteal area, indicating that he could have some tilt or rotation within the pelvis. On subsequent assessment, Blue was found to be slightly unlevel behind and so was manipulated and treated accordingly.
I've found veterinary thermal imaging to be a brilliant tool in helping to pinpoint or identify any potential issues. In conjunction with veterinary consultation, and a good knowledge of Ruby and Blue's respective histories, I've been able to use the images to make informed choices about the most appropriate way to treat my horses where required, and I wouldn't hesitate to use it again. Whether you're looking for a pre-season MOT, or you have a schooling issue that you suspect might be caused by a physical problem, it's a great starting point.
Jo was fab with the horses, and anyone in the Hampshire area interested in having their horse's imaged can contact Jo via Veterinary Thermal Imaging Hampshire on Facebook or email email@example.com