SouthWest Equine Hospital

OPEN 8AM-5PM MON-FRI 480-998-9460 Get Directions 480-250-1129 AFTER HOURS EMERGENCY

OPEN 8AM-5PM MON-FRI 480-998-9460
Get Directions

At Southwest Equine, we use the best technology available to ensure that your horse receives fast and accurate diagnoses whenever there is a problem. Digital imaging (radiography and ultrasonography) are two very useful and effective diagnostic modalities used in veterinary medicine.

  • Radiology
  • Ultrasonography
  • Video Endoscopy
  • Clinical Laboratory

Radiology (Digital Imaging)

Southwest Equine offers state-of-the-art wireless digital radiography. Wireless DR allows us to move around your horse quickly and safely, with no cords to get tangled in your horses's legs. Digital radiography allows us to view the images on a laptop computer within 3 seconds of acquisition, and images can be magnified for a more accurate diagnosis and effective treatment plan. Our wireless DR system is very versatile- obtaining excellent limb, head and neck images on the farm, as well as chest, abdomen, back and pelvis radiographs in the hospital. Digital images can be emailed or burned onto a CD/flash drive easy reference and sharing. Common types of radiographs include:


Hoof Balance Studies: great for any horse, especially when lameness issues are present, but also for sound horses, to help prevent any lameness issues associated with their hooves. Two views of each hoof are taken (usually the front feet); various measurements and angles are performed to determine the health of the inside of the foot. We then work with your farrier to establish a plan to correct any abnormalities that could lead to problems down the road.

Distal (lower) Limb Radiographs (hoof/pastern, fetlock, carpus, hock) are used to detect arthritis, osteochondrosis, fractures and many ligament strains. They can be performed both on the farm or in the hospital.


Proximal (upper) Limb (elbow, shoulder, stifle) and Spine (neck, back) radiographs can be performed on the farm; however, the superior quality images can be obtained by using the more powerful x-ray generator that is built into the hospital.


Proximal (upper) Head / Dental radiographs Radiographs can quickly and easily be obtained on the farm for any horses with head trauma, suspected sinus infections, or dental abnormalities (tooth fractures, open pulp horns). For dental radiographs, a special aluminum mouth speculum is used to help produce superior images.


Abdominal, thoracic (chest), myelogram and pelvic radiographs on adult patients are performed only in the hospital. Southwest Equine’s powerful in hospital x-ray generator is required to penetrate through dense structures and provide superior images for interpretation.

Ultrasonography (Digital Imaging)

Ultrasonography examination is performed on many structures and for many reasons.

  • Musculoskeletal-Ultrasound is an essential tool in diagnosing many muscle, tendon, ligament and joint injuries. Serial ultrasound examinations are often recommended to monitor healing and help determine when a horse is ready to return to work. The ultrasound is also used to guide technically difficult injections of the neck and hip.
  • Abdominal, thoracic and cardiac: Our in-clinic ultrasound is routinely used during our colic evaluations to help diagnose the cause of colic (colon torsion, displacement, enteritis, colitis) and help determine the best treatment for each individual horse. Dr. Alward uses the ultrasound extensively to diagnose and monitor abdominal or thoracic abscesses, pneumonia, liver disease, cancer, heart problems and neck/back disorders.
  • Reproductive: ultrasound examination of the reproductive tract is particularly useful for determining the optimal time to breed your mare and identifying early pregnancy. In the mare, ultrasound is also used to detect ovarian abnormalities, abnormal fluid accumulation in the uterus, identify fetal fluid / placental abnormalities during pregnancy, as well as monitor fetal growth, sex and well being. Ultrasound examination of the testicles is often performed in sub-fertile stallions to identify masses, hematomas or cysts that may be impacting semen quality or quantity.

Video Endoscopy

Equine Video Endoscopy

The video endoscope allows clear visualization of gastric ulcers, upper and lower airway abnormalities, bladder/urethral disorders, uterine abnormalities and the rectal lining.

Gastric ulcers are present in the majority of performance horses and even pleasure horses; clinical signs can vary from a change in performance, to weight loss, poor appetite or recurrent colic.

The presence of gastric ulcers is confirmed by examining the stomach with gastroscopy, which requires passage of a thin tube in the horse’s nose and down into the stomach. All parts of the stomach and opening to the small intestine are examined, and the images are shown on a large monitor for close examination. Gastric and intestinal biopsies may be performed via this approach.


Airway Endoscopyis essential for evaluating the structure and function of the respiratory tract. Southwest Equine has different video endoscopes for examining the upper and lower airway.

  • Upper airway endoscopy is used to evaluate horses with chronic coughs, nasal discharge, reduced stamina, poor performance and abnormal respiratory noises.
  • Lower airway endoscopy (bronchoscopy) is performed on horses with pulmonary hemorrhage, tracheal stensosis/masses, pulmonary abscesses or horses requiring broncho-alveolar lavage.

Urinary tract endoscopy is primarily used to evaluate the cause of blood in the urine or difficulty urinating. Bladder stones, infections, tumors and urethral tears are easily diagnosed via endoscopy.


Clinical Laboratory

Southwest Equine Hospital offers full service in-house laboratory services.

Our laboratory can perform complete blood counts, serum chemistry analysis, arterial blood gas analysis, electrolyte levels, lactate measurements, and fecal egg counts.

The in-house laboratory also features microscopes that allow veterinarians to evaluate cytology on samples like blood, cornea scrapings, uterine cells, tissue aspirates, semen analysis and embryo recovery.

Reference laboratories like Idexx, Antech or specific universities are utilized for more extensive diagnostics (hormone analysis, genetic testing, specific disease testing, toxicology).


southwest equine hospital pharmacy link