Illawarra Equine Centre is able to offer clients a range of diagnostic procedures using the latest and most advanced equipment available. This helps to provide answers to vexing issues in horses enabling us to treat the problem accurately and resolve it more quickly.
Digital radiography is a vital diagnostic tool frequently used in the field by our mobile veterinarians. The superior quality of the digital image and the ability to manipulate the image allows us to examine and diagnose problems that would have been missed on plain films. We have 2 mobile x-ray machines which allow ‘in field’ assessment if it is unsafe or inconvenient to transport the horse.
Radiography can be used as part of pre-purchase examinations either for particular areas of concern or for routine joint surveys. Certain types of examination, particularly those involving the thorax, abdomen, skull, spine and upper limb, may require additional help in capturing the image and may be best conducted at the clinic.
An endoscopic examination by means of a flexible scope allows the veterinarian direct visualisation of a range of internal structures, including the upper airways and larynx, guttural pouches, trachea and bronchi, stomach and proximal small intestine (gastroscopy) and the uterus, bladder and urethra.
In most cases these examinations can be performed in the standing animal under restraint and either in the horse's own stable or at our clinic. Abnormalities are identified and, when necessary, samples can be collected for further analysis.
Our state of the art video-endoscopy unit allows for close inspection including frame-by-frame assessment of moving structures as well as providing a permanent record in both video and still images.
Endoscopic examination of the upper airway structures is essential to accurately diagnosing problematic respiratory conditions such as, “roarers”, entrapped epiglottis, pharyngitis and chondritis.
An endoscopic exam of the upper airways is indicated when any of the following are present:
• nasal discharge
• respiratory noise (at exercise or rest)
• facial swelling
• respiratory distress
Dynamic Respiratory Endoscopy
One of the most important advances in equine veterinary practice in recent years is an endoscopic examination of the horse’s upper airway whilst under race or strenuous exercise conditions. It allows a close and accurate assessment of the airway while the horse is working hard. This takes the guesswork and uncertainty out of assessing the relevance of subtle abnormalities as well as diagnosing certain important abnormalities which appear normal at rest. This “on board” endoscope is comfortably worn attached to the bridle with the recording device attached to a specially designed saddle cloth.
The video recording of the airway is then viewed and the most appropriate management, medical and surgical options are discussed. When a Dynamic Respiratory Endoscope is required, we call upon our sister clinic, Randwick Equine Centre to lend a helping hand.
Illawarra Equine Centre has 3 multi-frequency portable ultrasound machines. Ultrasound is a non-invasive procedure is used primarily for reproductive procedures. It can also be used for the diagnosis of conditions such as tendon strains, cancers, infertility and pneumonia and is a valuable tool to assist in the treatment of musculoskeletal, respiratory and cutaneous body systems as well as ultrasound guided sacroiliac injections.
Occasionally horses with lameness problems don't not show signs of heat, swelling, palpable pain or sensitivity which enable the veterinarian to localise the cause.
Perineural or intra-articular analgesia (nerve and joint blocks) involves injecting local anaesthetic either around nerves or directly into a joint, and are commonly performed during a lameness investigation. By desensitising specific areas of the limb and evaluating any change in lameness, the area of discomfort can be isolated allowing further investigation such as radiography (X-rays) or ultrasonography to establish an accurate diagnosis. Once the proper diagnosis is made, management and treatment options can be put in place with a high chance of successfully resolving the problem.