Diagnostics

Tryon Equine Hospital is pleased to offer several state of the art diagnostic imaging options. Utilizing these technologies enables our doctors to make accurate and timely diagnoses, so you and your horse can get back to doing what you love. These services include:

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  • Digital Radiography

Tryon Equine is equipped with six Digital Radiology units, five for use on the farm and one for use in the hospital. Digital radiology is used to view images of bone, joints and occasionally soft tissue. The ability to see current and previous bone and joint injuries makes it an invaluable tool in both lameness evaluations and pre-purchase exams. Digital radiographs provide a much higher degree of detail and clarity than traditional x-rays. The images are processed instantaneously and can be viewed and manipulated by our doctors stall-side. This allows our doctors to reach an immediate diagnosis, so we can get your equine friend on the road to recovery.

  • Digital Ultrasound

At Tryon Equine we believe speed and accuracy in equine diagnostics is key. Digital ultrasound allows us to diagnose and monitor soft tissues, such as tendons and ligaments. This allows you to get started on a rehabilitation schedule sooner and on your way to returning to your horse’s intended use. It uses high frequency sound waves to noninvasively image soft tissue, and is more sensitive to soft tissue abnormalities than X-rays. In addition to imaging tendons and ligaments, we can also image joints, bone surfaces, cartilage, sacro-iliac ligaments, cervical facets for arthritis injuries, back, epaxial muscles. and as a guide for therapeutic injections. The abdomen and thorax may be assessed for early and late-term pregnancies and conditions including pneumonia, colic and other gastrointestinal abnormalities, and umbilical infections in foals. Both hospital and ambulatory veterinarians are equipped with digital ultrasound machines.

  • Endoscopy

Video endoscopy is used to diagnose diseases of the head and respiratory tract. An endoscopic exam is indicated for horses exhibiting nasal discharge, epistaxis (bleeding from the nose), coughing, head shaking, respiratory noise when exercising, and exercise intolerance . The endoscope is also used to visualize the urinary system and the reproductive system. Biopsies may also be collected via endoscopy. Contact us with any questions or to schedule.

  • Gastroscopy

Gastroscopy utilizes an endoscope that is 3 meters in length to examine the entire equine esophagus and stomach. Gastroscopy is the gold standard to diagnose EGUS, or equine gastric ulcer syndrome, which is extremely common in performance horses. Gastric ulcers can cause weight loss, poor performance, and colic symptoms. Keep in mind that horses need to be taken off of feed 24 hours before being scoped for the best results. Contact us with any questions or to schedule.

  • Standing Equine MRI

Tryon Equine Hospital is happy to offer our clients magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), through the use of the Hallmarq® MRI technology. MRI is currently considered the gold standard for diagnosing injury in equine sports medicine. It is a powerful imaging tool that provides detailed images of bones and soft tissues in a horse's lower limbs and can identify areas of inflammation when radiographs and ultrasound do not detect the abnormality.

An MRI not only gives clear viewing of bone and soft tissue but it also allows 3-dimensional viewing of slices of the tissue, in the area of concern, so severity of the injury can be accurately determined. Each scan generates between 300-500 images per foot, offering a 90% likelihood of conclusive diagnosis as to the specific cause of lameness. Targeted treatment can then be recommended, a prognosis can be clarified, and a more satisfactory outcome reached. In equine sports medicine, an early and accurate diagnosis with an MRI can lead to improving a horse's long-term athletic soundness and reducing their time out of work.

When horses are standing, we can obtain MRI images of the distal extremities (feet, pasterns, and fetlocks) and other body parts. The structure that is imaged most frequently with the MRI is the hoof. The equine hoof is comprised of many soft tissue structures that cannot be seen on an x-ray, and cannot be penetrated by ultrasound waves. We are now able to identify damage to these tissues, provide an explanation for many frustrating foot lameness cases, and suggest new treatments and shoeing techniques. The MRI system is best used when a lameness can be localized to a specific area, such as a particular foot or fetlock, but shows no abnormalities on digital radiograph or ultrasound.

An MRI can be helpful in the following situations:

  • Assessing damage after penetrating injuries of the foot
  • Radiographs do not show any injuries/lesions
  • Lameness localized to the foot or lower limb by nerve blocks
  • Area not accessible with ultrasound
  • Early detection of bone fractures (before they become obvious cracks)
  • After acute onset of lameness during exercise
  • To monitor treatment and healing before returning to work

MRI vs Radiograph

  • MRI images show information about both bone and soft tissue, whereas radiograph images only show bone, and ultrasound imaging only shows soft tissues. The clear images from an MRI allow us to make an accurate and precise diagnosis in 90% of cases.

MRIs are performed by appointment. Your horse’s shoes (both front feet, if the front foot is affected, and both hind feet, if the hind foot is affected) will have to be pulled prior to getting the MRI exam. We can remove the shoes if you are unable to arrange this with your farrier or if your horse cannot travel without shoes on.

Prior to the MRI exam, radiographs will need to be taken of each foot to detect any metal (such as a remnant of a horse shoe nail---as this will need to be removed. The charge for the radiographs is included in the price of the MRI exam. Your horse will be sedated for the exam. During the 2 hour exam, hundreds of images are captured that are then compiled and analyzed by our doctors. A diagnosis will be reported to you within 72 hours.

Contact us at (828) 894-6065 and/or info@tryonequine.com to find out more information about this service and to book an appointment for your horse.

  • Podiatry

At Tryon Equine Hospital we work with your farrier in a team approach to achieve the best outcome for your horse. Digital radiography can be performed at your farm or in our podiatry center to optimize foot balance and to monitor progress. MRI imaging is also available when needed to evaluate soft tissue injuries in the foot. We are pleased to work with your farrier or we are happy to recommend one of our regular corrective farriers as needed.