Inflammation arising from dental abscess, gum disease, Temporomandibular joint disease (TMJ) and other periodontal disease is something that has been detected by thermography in both animal and human patients (Dornbusch et al. 2017, Gratt et al. 1994, Snekhalatha et al. 2018). 

Vet-IR has been working alongside one of our  Zoo partners on establishing initial data sets on dental pathology detection in white rhino. 

Two sets of imaging data were captured on a group of captive white rhino with a three-month interval between sets. Ongoing data collections help us to determine healthy baseline data, and monitor changes in thermal symmetry in individuals over time. 

Rhino One: Focal hyperthermia was detected in the ventro-caudal area to the right eye, it may indicate a tooth (molar) inflammation.

Dental Inflammation

Inflammation detected over a three month period

Rhino 2: Diffuse hyperthermia on the paranasal sinuses was detected bilaterally but was more evident on the right and on the upper teeth of the right side. This was significant thermal change over a 3-month period. 

Important Note: Although much of Vet-IR’s work carefully follows specific image capture and patient preparation protocols to achieve clinical standard IR imaging, this is often not possible in a Zoo setting. This is where knowledge of the technology, its limitations and science of thermography becomes critical when imaging Zoo animals, to achieve valid data sets for veterinary interpretation.

All results below have been interpreted by a Vet-IR trained veterinary thermologist


Dornbusch et al. (2017) Thermographic findings in dogs with periapical abscess. Archives of Veterinary Science 22(1):57-63

Gratt BM et al. (1994) Thermographic characterisation of internal derangement of the temporomandibular joint. Journal of Orofacial Pain, 1994;8(2):197-206

Snekhalatha U. et al. (2018) Facial thermography: a potential complimentary tool for evaluation of dental disorders. International Journal of Engineering and Technology, 7(2.8) (2018) 175-181