Ultrasound is very useful for imaging soft tissue structures such as tendons, ligaments, muscles and internal organs as well as being invaluable for reproductive work. It can also give useful information about the surface of bones and so we use it to look for possible pelvic fractures and joint problems. The machines work by the probe firing out a high frequency sound wave that is reflected by the tissues that the wave travels through and received back by the probe. The strength of echoes returning from different depths builds up the picture that is displayed on the screen.

Ultrasound The most frequent areas that we use ultrasound for are scanning the ovaries and uterus of mares for breeding purposes and scanning legs for tendon injuries and we have both portable and trolley based machines available.

Ultrasound for tendon and ligament injuries

Ultrasound is invaluable for accurately assessing the extent and severity of tendon/ligament injuries, most commonly in the flexor tendons of the cannon region. It allows the area of tendon damage (as a percentage of the whole) to be accurately assessed along with grading of the severity of the damage within the affected area. This is increasingly important both from a prognostic point of view and also for guiding appropriate therapy. At Western Counties we are able to offer a wide range of treatments from traditional methods to state of the art treatments such as stem cell harvesting and implantation.

The other great benefit of ultrasound is that it allows the quality and rate of healing to be monitored allowing exercise regimes to be tailored accordingly and help minimise the risk of re-injury.

Ultrasound for Reproductive Purposes

Ultrasound is also invaluable for stud work where it images of the ovaries and uterus provide a wide range of information about the cycling and any possible problems in the non-pregnant mare (such as infection post covering).

It is also vital for the early accurate detection of pregnancy as well as diagnosing the occurrence of twin pregnancies. For this to be effective it is important that mares are scanned at appropriate times; contact the clinic for more information.

Abdominal and Thoracic Ultrasound

A further area that we are increasingly using ultrasound is to scan chests and abdomens. This gives us a range of information from the build up of fluid in the chest in cases of pneumonia to visualising loops of distended small intestine in colics which can help with the decision as to whether surgery is required.

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