Veterinary Teaching Hospital

Equine Digital Radiology (DR)

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 services, please contact us.

  • For in-hospital treatment, please call 540-231-9043.
  • For on-farm treatment, please call 540-231-9042.
digital radiology

What is Digital Radiology?

Digital radiography is a technique where 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. On critical cases, an immediate diagnosis can often be made based on the immediate images. However, the resolution on the screen available on the farm is not as good as that in the Veterinary Teaching Hospital; therefore, images are always taken back to the hospital for viewing and to make a final diagnosis. Because of the differences in resolution, small lesions are sometimes only visible on the higher imaging viewers at the hospital. As images can be viewed immediately after taking them, it can quickly be determined if additional images are needed. This 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 can work with farriers on these cases
  • Laminitis
  • Osteochondritis dissecans
  • Wounds (foreign bodies, penetration of joints)
digital radiology

How is the procedure performed?

  • For on-farm visits, an electrical outlet is required.
  • Horse must stand quietly and may require a tranquilizer.
  • Multiple views are needed to evaluate an area.
  • Depending on what views are needed (i.e. hock, navicular, carpus), we may ask the horse to stand on blocks or 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 in-hospital digital radiology is available on the VTH Diagnostic Imaging page.