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Digital Radiology

Lameness Evaluation

The Virginia-Maryland College of Veterinary Medicine provides digital radiology services for equine patients in our hospital and on the farm through our Equine Field Service. If you have questions about our radiology services, please contact us at 540-231-4621 for in-hospital or on-farm treatment.

What is digital radiology?

Digital radiography is a technique in which X-rays are digitally transmitted to a processor/computer. Instead of having to "develop" the film, the "captured image" can be viewed directly on the screen/processor. For critical cases, an immediate diagnosis can often be made based on the immediate images. However, because the resolution on the screen available on the farm is not as good as the screen available in the Veterinary Teaching Hospital, images are always taken back to the hospital for viewing in order to make a final diagnosis. Because of the differences in screen resolution, small lesions are sometimes visible only on the higher-imaging viewers at the hospital. Because images can be viewed immediately after taking them, it can be determined quickly if additional images are needed, which eliminates trips back to the farm to take repeat views.

What is digital radiography used for?

  • Navicular disease
  • Osteoarthritis/degenerative joint disease
  • Fractures
  • Podiatry cases (assisting with trimming and/or shoeing your horse); we work with farriers on these cases
  • Laminitis
  • Osteochondritis dissecans
  • Wounds (foreign bodies, penetration of joints)

How is the procedure performed?

  • For on-farm visits, an electrical outlet is required.
  • The horse must stand quietly and may require a tranquilizer.
  • Multiple views are needed to evaluate an area.
  • Depending on what views are needed (e.g., hock, navicular, carpus), we may ask the horse to stand on blocks or may flex the limbs.
  • Initial assessment may be given on the farm. Final diagnosis is made after viewing the images on higher-resolution screens at the college.
  • Owners can purchase a copy of digital radiographs for their own records.

More information about the Veterinary Teaching Hospital's in-hospital digital radiology services is available at Diagnostic Imaging.