Testing animal non-contact thermometers on healthy horses
Having a rapid method for obtaining reliable body temperature measurements is essential. The “golden standard” for measurement of body temperature in veterinary medicine and the most frequently used method is via rectal temperature. This is the method thought to be most reliable and most accurate. However, it is invasive, dangerous and time consuming.
Research has investigated the use of human non-contact thermometers on different animal species; however, various studies have shown controversial results. No human device has shown to be reliable for measuring horses’ temperature. Two new Non-contact infrared thermometers (NCITs) designed for animals – Thermofocus Animal and Rycom, were assessed on clinically healthy horses measuring temperature from the eye. Rectal temperature was taken with a Digital Rectal Thermometer (DRT) and temperatures from three different regions in each eye were recorded using both non-contact infrared thermometers. Overall, this study found the Rycom NCIT to be reliable when used on healthy horses. After assessing data for normality, temperatures taken with the Rycom non-contact infrared thermometer were shown to be not significantly different from the temperatures taken with the Digital Rectal Thermometer (p<0.05). With the acceptance of 0.5°C maximum difference between the NCIT and the DRT measurements, 78.3% of the readings obtained from the Right eye Medial Canthus with the Rycom were acceptable.
A non-contact infrared thermometer can provide non-invasive method for performing daily health checks whilst keeping the examiner safe. It is a passive, fast and easy way of obtaining temperature readings. It can also minimise the risk of disease transmission. As the method requires minimal handling, the procedure is rapid and stress free, which can be essential when working with uncooperative or restless animals. Therefore, it has many benefits for both veterinarians and horse owners in general and further research should be conducted on the Rycom device.
Expert opinion by Aleksandra Dimitrova
Having a non contact, non invasive method of obtaining horses temperature can have a lot of benefits. Therefore further reasearch should be carried out. Results from this study are promising and show the NCIT can be reliable in clinicaly healthy horses.
> From: Carter et al., VNJ 34 (2019) 96-101. All rights reserved to © 2019 British Veterinary Nursing Association (BVNA). Click here for the online summary.