Cairn Terrier, MN, 13-year-old


The patient was presented with vomiting and lethargy.  He had tried to jump on the couch and failed, hitting a hardwood floor, becoming acutely lame, and was showing aggressive behavior presumably due to pain.

Physiological Screen with Digital Thermal Imaging

The patient was acclimated to room temperature, was not handled during acclimation, and remained calm during image capture.  A set of 14 digital thermal images were captured with a Digatherm IR camera.

Areas of bilateral, asymmetrical hyperthermia were present throughout the paravertebral musculature. Focal areas of hyperthermic were noted at T4-5 – L3-4.

The left para-lumbar musculature showed an area of intense, asymmetrical hyperthermia from L4-S1-2 (Fig. 1).

Additional Diagnostics

A radiograph demonstrated abnormal curvatures of the spine (Fig. 2).

Fig. 1 – Dorsal thermal image of  a 13 year-old Cairn terrier presented with vomiting, lethargy, and acute pain after falling on a hardwood floor.

Fig. 2 – Abnormal curvatures of the spine (blue arrows) in locations corresponding to areas of hyperthermia in Digital Thermal Image.

Treatment Recommendation

Chiropractic adjustment was prescribed and resulted in a reduction of the spinal curvatures as demonstrated by radiographs after adjustment (Fig. 3).

Response to Treatment

A follow-up thermal image demonstrated a significant reduction in increased thermal gradients throughout the paravertebral musculature (Fig. 4).  This corresponded to a marked reduction in pain, reduced lameness, and a normalization of behavior.

Infrared Digital Thermal Imaging Provided

  1. Localization of areas of abnormal physiology in the paravertebral musculature.
  2. Client education and understanding, allowing immediate compliance to further diagnostics and chiropractic adjustment.
  3. Confirmation of response to chiropractic adjustment and baseline information for future monitoring of this patient’s spinal curvatures.

Fig. 3 – Reduction in spinal curvatures after chiropractic adjustment.

Fig. 4 – Reduction in thermal gradients following chiropractic adjustment.

Contributed by:
Dr. Marlene Siegel
Alyssa Siegel
Pasco Veterinary Medical Center Lutz, FL.