Evaluation of Heat Distribution for the Diagnosis of the Hoof with Abscess by Infrared Thermography in Horses

Su-Min Kim1, Gil-Jae Cho1, *
1 College of Veterinary Medicine and Institute of Equine Medicine, Kyungpook National University, Daegu 41566, South Korea

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© 2021 Kim and Cho.

open-access license: This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International Public License (CC-BY 4.0), a copy of which is available at: This license permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.

* Address correspondence to this author at the College of Veterinary Medicine and Institute of Equine Medicine, Kyungpook National University, Daegu 41566, South Korea; Tel: +82-053-950-5978; Fax: +82-053-950-5955;



The study of normal temperature distribution for the diagnosis of hoof disease in horses using Infrared Thermography (IRT) is rare, therefore, the normal temperature distribution is to be investigated. In this study, we investigated the possible use of IRT in the diagnosis of hoof disease in horses.


A total of 66 horses (56 healthy horses and 10 horses with hoof abscess) were used in this study. Veterinarians and farriers performed physical examinations, such as lameness examination, palpation, hoof test, and radiography, on all horses. IRT was performed in standard conditions. The plantar of the hoof was lifted upward by the owner, and the distance of the thermal camera between the plantar of the hoof was 0.3 - 0.5 m. For evaluation, the heat pattern of the plantar of the hoof was divided into seven regions of interest (ROIs), and statistical analysis was performed.


On performing IRT, the temperature of healthy hooves and hooves with hoof abscess was found to be 25.77 °C ± 3.87 °C (mean ± SD) and 31.94 °C ± 2.60 °C, respectively (p < 0.0001). The mean temperature of ROIs in hooves with abscesses was 6.17 °C higher than that of healthy hooves. Sole regions were found to be especially prominent. Additionally, all ROIs of hooves with hoof abscess classified IRT with high sensitivity (74.3%) and specificity (87.5%).


The present study demonstrated the usefulness of IRT in diagnosing hoof with abscess. Moreover, this study suggests that IRT may be useful as a new temperature measurement analysis system in terms of determining differences in the heat distribution of the hoof.

Keywords: Heat distribution, Hoof abscess, Horse, Infrared thermography, Regions on interest (ROI), Temperature.