Unlike a human physician, a veterinarian cannot localize suffering by asking the patient "where does it hurt?" Investigating the case to generate questions that one can answer via clinical diagnostics is crucial to solving the problem presented. Much like their human counterparts, equines are atheletes and incur many of the same injuries and stress related disease processes. Racehorses, jumpers, dressage horses, and draft horses, to name a few, all undergo tremendous strain in their careers. It is not suprising that occassionally things go awry. In the equine world, especially with the distal limb, pathologies are first noticed when the animal is in sufficient pain to change its gait, but the presentation of lameness is just the beginning.
To the left are actual cases from New Bolton Center in which clinicians have utilized various, complementary imaging modalities to visualize the internal structures of the horse and attempt to determine the disease process that is occuring.. The contribution from magnetic resonance imaging, in particular, has meant the difference in recieving a conclusive answer to the questions: "Where does it hurt?" and "What is it?" With these answers owners have a definitive understanding of what is happening with their animals, and patients recieve therapy to help with their pain and suffering.
For many of the imaging modalities used an understanding of anatomy is essential. MRI and Ultrasound rely on cross-sectional anatomy to see what structures look like in thin slices while nuclear medicine and radiology require a complete understanding of 3D anatomy as both compress all of the structures in the body to a two-dimentional plane. While going through these cases one would be well advised to periodically return to the anatomy portion of this site to review regions involved in the pathological cases.