Radiology or x-ray imaging is the backbone of all imaging modalities in any sport horse practice. X-rays are relatively large radioactive particles that are produced and fired from an x-ray generator. They then travel through a body part or area and to a plate containing x-ray sensitive receptors or crystals, ultimately producing the typical black and white x-ray image. The days of toting bags full of cassettes back to a clinic for development in a dark room and finally looking at the film when backlit on a large view box have given way to Direct Digital Radiology (DDR) imaging solutions. Today, practitioners have almost immediate (4-12 seconds) viewing of high quality images. Yet much about radiology remains the same; it is still a one dimensional image, and only 4 different densities can reliably be distinguished. Since the image is one dimensional, multiple views taken while circling around the body part is best. A complete study of the distal limbs for example would require at minimum of 4 views. Some areas however, the shoulder for example, allow for only one view. The different densities that radiology allows us to “see” are bone/mineral, soft tissue, fat, and air. With today's software-enhanced images, however we can “see” different soft tissue densities such as the tendons and ligaments, and the sensitive laminae in the hoof.
Throughout my practice career I have been obsessed with high quality x-ray imaging. Today, my equipment, made by Cannon, is totally wireless and has the fastest image process time currently available in equine practice. Without superior imaging equipment and experienced interpretation of the images, difficult diagnoses may remain elusive. I have always understood this and am committed to continuing to be a leader in equine radiology.