Introduction to Thermography (SyncThermology)

Cats, Dogs, SyncThermology, Therapies

Physiological Imaging, commonly known as thermography (SyncThermology) is now available for canine patients across the UK

Physiological Imaging, commonly known as thermography is now available for canine patients across the UK.

The service is provided by the small animal team from SyncThermology – SyncCanine, who pride themselves as leading specialists in the clinical application of physiological imaging. The technology is a simple, non-invasive scan, assessing the autonomic nervous system and its response to any pathologies or injuries. It detects physiological (functional) abnormalities and can graphically record inflammatory and neurological processes.

The biggest misconception for dog owners is that thermography is a standalone test which will provide a final diagnosis. In reality, that’s not usually the case. It will provide an indication rather than a diagnosis and areas of concern will normally warrant targeted veterinary assessment or further investigation.

here are many uses for clinical standard thermography in veterinary medicine. The technology is most frequently used to assist diagnosis of complex, subtle lameness or early stage pathology where it can isolate the areas of concern and subsequently focus veterinary investigation. Thermography is also very helpful with assessing patients suffering with any neurological conditions. Other popular uses are the assessment of behavioural changes to establish whether pain may be a factor, assessing joint health and as an aid in guiding or monitoring treatment and rehabilitation.

There are many benefits to using thermography, especially when the technology is integrated with other diagnostic modalities under veterinary referral. The assessment is non-invasive, quick and does not require sedation. Most dogs can be imaged in under an hour and find the procedure stress free as there is no contact with the equipment. The technology is highly sensitive and can detect very early pathologies, giving the referring vet the opportunity to commence treatment and/or rehabilitation at an early stage, improving the long term outcome for the patient. Many dogs are now having targeted investigations with less discomfort and a chance of prompt treatment.

Joint Related Conditions – How Can Thermography Assist?

Thermography detects the inflammatory processes which are produced when physiological changes start to occur in a joint. The technology can assist veterinary surgeons in the identification of both early stage and chronic joint disease. Degenerative changes are often the cause of lameness, but structural imaging may not contribute to the investigation in the initial stages due to the lack of structural lesions in the joint. Using the technology to review joints which are difficult to image with x-ray or ultrasound has proven beneficial to many vets and has helped warrant targeted investigation.

During an appointment the technician will take a full set of images at rest. Your dog will then be exercised, and a repeat set of images will be taken post exercise. All images are sent to SyncThermology’s team of specialist veterinary surgeons for analysis and interpretation. The produced veterinary report is then sent to the referring vet within 2-5 working days.

To discuss whether your dog would benefit from thermographic assessment or to book an appointment, please contact

Case Examples:

This case features an 8 month old puppy with slightly underdeveloped hindquarter musculature. One short episode of right hind limb stiffness had been reported but no other concerning clinical signs presented. The patient was assessed by the vet, but no swelling or major concerns were noted despite positive thermographic findings (Week 1). There was a suspicion of subclinical, mild injury to the connective/soft tissues of the right tarsal. Due to the age of the patient the decision was made to treat preventatively with rest, joint supplements, manual therapy and gradual increase in exercise. Patient was referred for chiropractic treatment and hydrotherapy and monitored over the course of treatments. This was to ensure the gradual increase in the exercise is not aggravating the issue. Veterinary interpretation confirmed gradual improvement in thermographic findings from week 2 onwards. Thermography assisted the referring vet and the owner in selecting the best route of treatment to prevent much more severe injury in the future.

This next case features a young working dog who was suffering from intermittent forelimb lameness. Extensive X-Rays had been taken but had proved inconclusive. A suspicion of Panosteitis (‘growing pains’) was noted. The patient was referred for thermographic assessment to establish if further targeted imaging of the elbows was recommended and whether there were any other concerns which would stop the dog from continuing the training as a working dog. The report produced by the interpreting vet, highlighted areas of concern in the left elbow and left tarsal joint – CT scan was recommended. The patient was then referred for a CT scan which confirmed elbow dysplasia in left elbow and left tarsal Osteochondritis Dissecans. Due to the severity of the injuries it was decided to withdraw the patient from further service training, address the injuries and rehome the dog as a family pet. Thermography assisted the service unit and the treating vet in deciding the best course of action for the patient and the training resources of the unit.


To discuss whether your dog would benefit from thermographic assessment or to book an appointment, please contact Kat on or on her mobile 07999 786737.

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