RELIABILITY OF SURFACE INFRARED THERMOMETRY IN HORSES
Alaba B.A., Abiola J.O., Adedokun R.A.M.*, Shima F.K., Omoniwa D.O. and Roberts A.E.
Core body temperature is indispensable in the assessment of the health status, as well as diagnosis and management of febrile conditions in patients. However, taking temperature in veterinary practice using conventional rectal thermometry could be challenging as most animals like horses often resent it. In this report, the reliability and accuracy of non-contact infrared thermometry in measuring temperature in horses is evaluated. Body surface infrared temperature readings of 40 horses were measured from three different sites (forehead, shoulder point, and anal verge regions) and compared with rectal thermometry as gold standard, the mean temperature differences, spearman’s correlation and reliability coefficients were calculated for each measurement site. Bland-Altman plot was used to assess the agreement and systematic differences between the non-contact infrared and rectal thermometry. All the analyses were evaluated at α0.05. The body surface temperatures were slightly lower and correlate poorly with rectal temperature (p>0.05). The Bland-Altman analysis showed low mean bias ± SD between infrared and rectal thermometry as forehead (1.06 ± 0.48℃), shoulder point (0.77 ± 0.48℃), and anal verge (0.32 ± 0.63℃); and high reliability with clinical potentials (Intraclass correlation and Cronbach's Alpha coefficients (r) ≥ 0.98). Based on this data, with the high consistency and agreement, as well as the low mean biases below 1oC, the non-contact infrared thermometry of the anal verge and shoulder point demonstrated the greatest clinical potentials as an alternative to rectal thermometry in horses.
Keywords: Infrared thermometry, equine practice, body temperature, rectal thermometry, health status, reliability.
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