Geriatric patients are often presented with old problems that owners associate with generalized aging, but instead, they can be a consequence of specific injuries, joint disease, or compensation. 

Thermal Images help localize and visualize the affected areas during the examination process. The changes in temperature can show the need for further diagnostics and treatment for these geriatric patients.

We will share with you the case of a 9-yr.-old neutered male lab mix. Who was presented by owners who complained that he was slower on walks and sometimes unwilling to go up the stairs.

The physical examination showed a slight tenderness of the paravertebral musculature from approximately T 8-9 – L 7 upon digital palpation.

A complete Infrared Thermography exam was performed (12 images were captured) and the result was a bilateral hyperthermia presented over the thoracolumbar paravertebral musculature along the thoracic and lumbar spine with a focal point corresponding to T 13 – L 1.

 Additional diagnostics, including radiographic study, were suggested but rejected by the owners. 

thermal image bilateral hyperthermia on thoracolumbar geriatric patient

Owners didn’t want to use pharmaceuticals but easily agreed to a series of photobiomodulation therapy (PBMT) treatments.

A dorsal thoracolumbar thermal image was used as the roadmap for the application of PBMT. A dosage of 12 J/cm 2 was administered on – contact over all areas of hyperthermia.

Day 8
Day 14

Before the fourth PBMT session, another set of thermal images was captured on Day 8. The images showed a 42% reduction within the hyperthermic areas along the thoracolumbar spine, but the focal point of hyperthermia at T13 – L1 had not changed significantly. The owners stated the patient’s mobility had improved greatly.

Once again radiographs were recommended but declined by the owners. Instead, they decide to continue with PBMT. Tree more sessions of PBMT were prescribed and administered again using the thermal image as a guide for the administration. The PBMT dose was increased to 15 J/cm 2.

Another complete set of thermal images was captured on day 14. A reduction of the hyperthermia at T 13 L1. 

Continued reduced-frequency PBMT sessions were prescribed to maintain patient mobility.

Digital infrared thermographic provided valuable information such as: 

  1. Identification of areas that required further evaluation.
  2. A roadmap for the application of PBMT.
  3. An objective measurement of the progress of the PBMT therapy.
  4. A way to monitor this patient in the future.
  5. Presented the clients with a visualization of physiological changes that was easy for them to understand.

Digital thermal imaging helped in providing a higher quality of life for this patient.