Infrared Non-Contact Thermometer

Monitoring your horse's progress in the transition to barefoot is just one of this device's many uses.

When you want to measure the surface temperature of something, there is a handy device that can instantly do it - the infrared thermometer, aka, the heat gun. It is a battery-operated, hand-held, non-contact heat-measuring device, meaning it works not by coming in contact with the object, but rather by sensing emitted energy. Mini-Temp© is one such device. The device's optics sense emitted, reflected and transmitted energy, which is collected and focused onto a detector. The device's electronics translate the info into a temperature reading, which is digitally displayed through a small window. It was developed for safely measuring surface temperatures of hot, hazardous, or hard-to-reach objects without contact. Just aim, pull the trigger, and read current surface temperatures (0 to 500 degrees F) in less than a second.

Though it is not inexpensive (~$100), this particular device is actually less expensive than it originally was, and it is quite useful in the horse world. One common use for it is to find heat on body surface areas to indicate where there may be inflammation, or to find cold spots (and ice plugs in pipes in winter!). Though one may be adept at feeling temperatures with the hands, there are times when that might not be possible. Also, having an exact reading allows one to keep records of changes over time.

Another use is to measure the heat in the legs and hooves. It is becoming common knowledge that the cooler temperatures in the legs of shod hooves is an indication of a lack of circulation due to impaired hoof function from the shoes. Now one can see for himself that this is true - just measure the leg of an unshod hoof and compare to that of a shod hoof. When going through the transition from shod to barefoot, one can monitor the daily temperatures of the legs and hooves. This will indicate when there is increased circulation, which may be greater at first and then subside and stabilize, as optimum hoof function and blood circulation are restored. The device is also accurate in pinpointing small areas of heat such as in the hoof.

To accurately measure temperature, make sure that the target object is larger than the unit's spot size (which varies with distance). For example, when 2' from an object, the target area measured is about a 4" spot. When 6" from an object, the measured spot is about 1". To locate a hot spot, aim the thermometer outside the area of interest, then scan across in up-and-down sweeps until you find the hot spot. The temperature reading changes instantly as the surface temperature changes, as long as the trigger is pressed. When the trigger is released, the last temperature reading stays displayed for about 8 seconds then the device shuts off.

Sunlight on an object will naturally warm it, so avoid taking temperatures in direct sunlight. Also, dirt, dust, steam, and smoke can interfere with an accurate reading. The little red laser dot is meant for aiming and should not be pointed directly into the eyes or indirectly off of reflective surfaces. It is available through various farriery supply stores, or through Centaur Forge catalog.

For more information:
Centaur Forge, Ltd.
PO Box 340
117 North Spring St
Burlington, WI