Equine Diagnostic Ultrasound Imaging

Our new Mindray M9 ultrasound has arrived! Three probes now open up a host of imaging and guided therapeutic options for our patients. When talking about ultrasound to horse owners, most people imagine tendon and pregnancy scans. It’s certainly where equine ultrasound started but there are now SO MANY MORE diagnostic and therapeutic indications. Here are a few other examples to get you thinking: limitless possibilities when you know what you’re looking at!


  • Musculoskeletal indications: tendon injury monitoring, joint evaluation (periarticular soft tissue attachments, joint surface integrity, fluid analysis), guided back and spinal injections (eg, cervical facets, sacro-iliac disease, kissing spines), lumbar muscle evaluations and so on…

  • Wounds: ultrasound imaging is very useful for assessing wounds for evidence of foreign body material that can then be removed, underlying bone injury or sinus tracts and to rule out joint and tendon involvement.

  • Visceral imaging (abdomen): ultrasound examination of the equine abdomen has become a routine part of evaluating the colic patient in many centres or as part of a sick patient evaluation to evaluate organs such as the liver, spleen and kidneys.

  • Airway disease: from larynx (roarers) to lung, ultrasound is now an essential part of airway disease investigation and monitoring response to treatment. 

  • Urogenital: imaging the female reproductive tract is essential for assisted breeding techniques and difficult breeders. It’s also useful for some late term pregnancy and foal evaluations near term. Urogenital imaging isn’t just an arena for females though: ultrasound can also be useful in locating crypt orchid testes in some of our male patients!

  • Occular injury: painfully closed or cloudy eyes present an obvious problem for assessment. Ultrasound is a useful way to assess globe, lens and uveal tract integrity when you can’t see it with a normal ophthalmoscope.

We’re looking forward to sharing some examples of these uses with you as we go but in the meantime, if you have any queries or think your horse might benefit from an ultrasound examination; please don’t hesitate to call to discuss this further.