Ultrasonography is a valuable and widely used diagnostic tool in horses. The Liphook Equine Hospital has several different digital ultrasound machines that can be used for ultrasound scanning of different parts of the body, including.

Musculoskeletal system

Ultrasonography is used extensively in lameness investigations for the scanning of tendon and ligament injuries as well as assessing wounds, joint surfaces, fractures and soft tissue swellings. Ultrasonography may also be useful for the detection of back and pelvic injuries.

Heart and vascular system

Ultrasonography of the heart is important to assess the chambers and valves of the heart and is invaluable in the assessment of the significance of many types of heart murmur. Colour flow Doppler is used to assess dynamic blood flow through different parts of the heart. Ultrasonography may also be useful for assessing thrombi and peripheral blood vessels.


Ultrasonographic examination of the intestines and other abdominal structures (eg. liver, kidney and spleen) is an important diagnostic tool in the investigation of horses with colic, weight loss or diarrhoea. Ultrasound guidance is frequently used to allow safe and precise biopsy of internal structures such as the liver, lungs and kidneys.

Reproductive Tract

Ultrasonographic assessment of the ovaries and uterus is important in the management of brood mares to assess the reproductive tract, stage of oestrous cycle and pregnancy diagnosis. Regular ultrasound scans of the ovaries are performed (every few hours) of mares undergoing artificial insemination (AI) to ensure that insemination is performed at the optimal time. Early pregnancy diagnosis is important to ensure that a mare is not carrying twins


Ultrasonographic assessment of the thoracic cavity, including the lungs, is important in the assessment of horses with pneumonia, lung masses or pleurisy.

Whilst many of these scans require the use of the larger, more sophisticated scanners available at the hospital, our ambulatory veterinary surgeons have access to mobile digital ultrasonography equipment that mean that some scans can be done at the horse’s own premises.