How veterinary ultrasonography is helping to change the equine industry
The racehorse industry is financially lucrative, and the health and welfare of the horses used in racing is of paramount concern. This study was concerned with the observation that stopping the onset of tendon injuries in Thoroughbred horses would be better than having to carry out treatment – in other words, it’s that old adage ‘prevention is better than cure’. One of the proposed methods to enable this was a specialised branch of ultrasonography called ‘ultrasound tissue characterisation’. This technique combined a 3D view of the tendon alongside the organisation of associated fibres into 4 pre-determined criteria types in 32 Thoroughbred horses, and should return physiological information about the tendon in question to help prevent the onset of injury.
The results were subjected to statistical analysis – for more information on the precise methods used and analysis carried out, please see the full article by clicking here. It should be noted that there was no control group used in this article (a group that can be used as a reference), so it was difficult for the researchers to attribute any differences found directly to training rather than those appearing due to the aging process.
This research revealed that this type of ultrasound imaging was successful in detecting changes over a 6 month training period, and consequently may be a helpful technique when attempting to prevent tendon injury from occurring in Thoroughbred horses in the future.
This study demonstrates the sheer versatility of ultrasound imaging, whereby in cases where standard ultrasound imaging may not be the most appropriate technique, adaptations can be made to help allow the correct type of information to be retrieved. It is more than likely that many more branches of ultrasound will be uncovered in the near future, helping to secure veterinary ultrasound as a go-to technique for anyone working in the animal industry.