The veterinarians at Rocky Mountain Equine Clinic use a digital radiography machine to obtain images of your horse’s bones and joints. These images (radiographs, often called x-rays) are extremely helpful when used WITH the hands-on examination findings. Our machine allows the veterinarian and client to see the images immediately and these images can be shared with you after the examination via email. Radiographs can be performed in the clinic or on the farm; we do require a functioning electrical outlet. The following are some examples of where radiography may be used:
**Lameness exams: a comprehensive exam includes a hands-on examination including palpation, hoof testing, and watching the horse move, both in circles on the lunge line and in straight lines in hand. Flexions +/- diagnostic analgesia (‘blocks’) are crucial to help narrow down where the lameness is originating from PRIOR to obtaining images. With few exceptions, we will recommend 3-5 images per joint as an exam is not complete without the full set of images. These images can then be used to help determine diagnosis, prognosis, and appropriate treatments. There are times other imaging will be recommended (ultrasound for soft tissues or even referral for more advanced imaging such as MRI or bone scan).
**Emergencies: we will bring the radiograph equipment with us when we are called to a suddenly lame or not weight bearing horse to help rule out possible fractures (breaks) of a bone.
**Dentistry/sinus: with a few exceptions, radiographs are an important part of dental/sinus cases to help determine if a tooth should be removed after a comprehensive sedated oral examination has been performed. Post-extraction (removal) radiographs are important to confirm complete extraction of the tooth has been performed and are considered standard of care.
**Pre-purchase exams: radiographs are a commonly recommended procedure at pre-purchase examinations, even when there is no obvious lameness seen by the veterinarian.
**Hoof balance/ “farrier” x-rays: These may be recommended in cases of foot pain, laminitis, or to help guide therapeutic shoeing. These are often recommended even in the case of sound horses to help guide appropriate trimming and shoeing. We are happy to set up an appointment with you and your farrier to take images at time of shoeing, or we can share the images with you and your farrier via email.
The veterinarians at Rocky Mountain Equine Clinic also use an advanced portable ultrasound machine. The following are some examples where ultrasonography may be used:
**Lameness: ultrasound may be recommended if the hands on lameness examination causes the veterinarian to be suspicious of a soft tissue issue (tendons, ligaments). In addition, ultrasound is the imaging of choice for upper hind limb lameness (such as in cases of suspected pelvis/hip fracture)
**Emergency colic to look at your horse’s abdomen
**Chronic colic/abdominal pain
**Reproductive examinations pre-breeding or to confirm pregnancy
**Thoracic (chest) examination: when your horse is experiencing signs of respiratory disease such as pneumonia, ultrasound may be recommended.
**Foals with umbilical (belly button) issues
If you think your horse may need radiography or ultrasonography, please mention this while scheduling your appointment so that we can schedule accordingly.