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Importance of Diagnostic Tools in Equine Veterinary Care

Importance of Diagnostic Tools in Equine Veterinary Care

Diagnostic tools are critical to the ongoing health and well-being of your horse, but what tools do we commonly use and why are they important? Here, our Versailles equine vets talk about how diagnostic tools and imaging can help us provide your horse with the equine veterinary care they need.

Significance of Diagnostic Solutions in Evaluating and Treating Health Conditions in Horses

Equine diagnostic imaging and tools are used to help monitor your horse's health and identify any potential issues as they arise. Here at Bluegrass Equine Surgery, we use equine diagnostics along with examinations to gain a complete view of the health of your horse.

If your horse is unwell or showing signs of injury it is crucial to act quickly. Our equine diagnostic lab allows us to do just that. Our experienced equine vets will use the diagnostic tools we have in our lab along with their expertise to help diagnose and treat your horse and get them feeling well again quickly.

Equine Diagnostic Techniques Used For Evaluating Horse Health

There are several equine diagnostic services that can be useful for diagnosing various health concerns in horses. Some of the most commonly used diagnostic tools and equine diagnostic imaging techniques include:


Digital radiography or X-rays allow our vets to view the internal structures of your horse in a non-invasive manner. Just as you would take a photo with a digital camera, X-rays can produce images in a matter of moments. X-rays can be performed in our equine diagnostic lab to gain valuable insight into the health and function of your horse's internal structure. From bones and joints to vital organs, digital radiography can be used to provide diagnosis and treatment for a variety of medical conditions making it a vital diagnostic tool.


Veterinary ultrasound is most commonly used to diagnose and monitor pregnancy and reproductive health along with soft tissue injuries. By using ultrasounds our equine vets can monitor certain areas of your horse's body that radiographs can't and in real-time.

Ultrasounds are often used in combination with X-rays. This is because these two tools used together provide your vet with a full view of the internal workings of the target area.

Equine vets can gain a better view of areas with both substantial soft tissue and bones as it can provide a view of both in one image.

Ultrasounds can also be used to administer needles as the needle can be seen as it's guided through the tissue.

PET Scans

A PET scan is a type of radioactive diagnostic tool that can show the body and structures of the horse in slices. This diagnostic tool can be used in conjunction with CT scans.

Because limb injuries in horses can become fatal if left untreated it is crucial to have them diagnosed accurately and quickly.

PET scans are a useful technology in this process as they can help to detect 'hot spots' on the bone which are microscopic changes that could become more serious over time.


Endoscopy is an examination technique that allows for the evaluation of the upper respiratory tract of the horse.

This can be used to diagnose conformational, infectious, neoplastic, traumatic, or neurologic abnormalities. Endoscopy can be a crucial part of the pre-purchase/sale examination to provide the buyer with information about the health of the horse's upper airway. If there are any potential issues it could lead to a lower level of performance from the horse.

Your vet will use the results of the endoscopy to determine any potential issues and a treatment plan for the horse. In other cases, endoscopy can also provide a visual examination and flushing of the guttural pouches.

Nuclear Scintigraphy

Scintigraphy is a nuclear medicine imaging technique that is used in a similar matter as PET scans to find 'hot spots' on bones that could develop serious complications.

Once the target areas have been identified, the equine vet can use other forms of equine diagnostic imaging to help diagnose the concern and develop a treatment plan for your horse.

In Conclusion

Diagnostic tools such as imaging techniques are critical for the diagnosis of various injuries and illnesses as well as other conditions. 

Our vets are here to help with all of your equine diagnostic needs. Please feel free to reach out to our team with any questions or concerns regarding the health and care of your horse.

Note: The advice provided in this post is intended for informational purposes and does not constitute medical advice regarding animals, or professional advice regarding equine regulations. For the diagnosis of your animal's condition and help to navigate regulations governing the care and transportation of equine animals please contact your vet.

Would you like to learn more about the technology available in our equine diagnostics lab? Contact Bluegrass Equine Surgery to speak with our experienced equine vets. 

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Whether you are looking to get involved with our rapidly-growing practice, or are seeking equine veterinary care, Bluegrass Equine Surgery welcomes you to get in touch. 

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