Veterinary Sciences and Medicine


Development of an Equine Non-Contact Thermography Device

Author(s): HC Collins, JL Leatherwood, F Yildiz, MJ Anderson, N Walker and MM Beverly

Fever is a common indicator of infectious disease in animals. However, collection of a rectal temperature can be difficult and stressful on the animal. New technologies, such as thermal imaging cameras, have recently become more prevalent to collect the body temperature of animals at other, less invasive sites. The objective of this research was to compare a first generation prototype non-contact thermography device (NCTD) to a traditional FLIR® thermal imager (FLIR® Systems Inc., Austin, TX) as well as determine the relationship between rectal and thermographic temperatures as an indicator of health status. The study was conducted in three phases, with Phases I and II focused on correlating ocular globe temperatures to an industry standard of rectal temperature. Following data collection, Phase III evaluated multiple sites on mature sedentary horses. Data were analyzed using the PROC CORR and PROC REG procedures of SAS. A moderate relationship was found at the ocular globe of the eye (r=0.51; P ≤ 0.01) for NCTD: FLIR®, along with weak relationships being found between NCTD: Rectal (r=0.42; P ≤ 0.01) and FLIR®: Rectal (r=.031; P ≤ 0.01) at this location. Weak relationships were also found using a combination of knee, girth, and flank measurements on the horse, where an R- squared value was found with both the FLIR® (r2 = 0.19) and NCTD (r2 = 0.15) in relation to rectal temperature. Additional phases will need to be executed, where environmental factors are heavily emphasized, in order to determine these devices true effectiveness for body temperature detection in a production setting. Still, utilization of this technology shows potential to greatly reduce risk for spread of diseases, and allow for a healthier and better maintained population of horses within the industry.

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