Large Animal Radiology Nomenclature

The purpose of this section on nomenclature is to provide an overview of the various terminologies used in equine radiology. While attempts have been made to develop a universal system of descriptive terminology for radiographs, many different terms are currently used. Some of these terms are more widely accepted than others, and it is our intent to review many of the terms currently in use.

The following drawing shows a horse with different aspects of its limbs labelled according to the terms used to describe them:

In radiography of the equine limb, it is important to express the view radiographed by naming the point of entry of the x-ray beam first, and the point of exit second. Thus, terms such as DV (dorsoventral), AP (anteroposterior), Lateromedial, Dorsopalmar, etc., are interchangeably used by many equine practitioners. The following table demonstrates these common terms, their meaning, and equivalent synonyms. Keep in mind that some of these terms are included solely because of the fact that they are used commonly by some clinicians. The reader should be aware that the authors' use of some of these terms is strictly for the purpose of providing a definition, not an opinion as to their correctness.

Dorsopalmar View of the Foot, Fetlock or Distal CannonAnteroposterior (AP)
Dorsopalmar View of the Third Phalanx and Navicular BoneDorsoventral (DV)
Dorsoplantar View of the Foot, Fetlock or Distal CannonAnteroposterior (AP)
Dorsoplantar View of the Third Phalanx and Navicular BoneDorsoventral (DV)
Flexor View of the FootPosterior View
Tangential view of CarpusTunnel or Skyline View

In 1985, a paper was published in Veterinary Radiology entitled "A Standardized Nomenclature for Radiographic Projections Used in Veterinary Medicine". Readers that desire additional information should refer to this article by James E. Smallwood, DVM, MS, et al.

Copyright © 1995 - University of Pennsylvania School of Veterinary Medicine
Faculty: Dr. Charles F. Reid
Student: Nancy White Bathurst V'99