Med. Weter. 2020, 76 (10), 593-596

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The use of thermography for assessment of high-intensity laser therapy in racehorses: Pilot study
The aim of the pilot study was to perform a thermographic assessment of temperature changes on the surface of the fetlock joint of clinically healthy racehorses after high-intensity laser therapy (HILT). The study was conducted on 16 clinically healthy Thoroughbred racehorses aged 3-4 years, trained for racing. Temperature measurements of the left forelimb fetlock joint were taken from a lateral aspect before and after HILT. Temperature was measured with a Vario-Cam HR® InfraTec thermographic camera with a resolution of 640 × 480. A measuring region of the fetlock joint was determined for each thermographic image to calculate the average temperature. The non-parametric Wilcoxon test was used for statistical analysis. The study results indicate a statistically significant increase in the average surface temperature of the fetlock joint (by an average of 3.0°C) after HILT. Thermography offers a simple and precise assessment of temperature changes in the treated region. The results of this pilot study may prove valuable in future research on the use of thermography in monitoring changes as well as short-term and long-term effects of HILT to determine the most effective and optimal parameters of this therapy.
Keywords: thermography, racehorse, high-intensity laser therapy, fetlock joint