Radiography is a valuable diagnostic tool in veterinary medicine. As we continually strive to offer the highest quality medicine and diagnostic testing, we are pleased to offer radiology services as a means of providing excellent care to our patients.
A radiograph (sometimes called an x-ray) is a type of photograph that can look inside the body and reveal information that may not be discernable from the outside. Radiography can be used to evaluate almost any organ in the body, including the heart, lungs, and abdominal organs, as well as the bones.
Radiography is painless, safe, and completely non-invasive, and it uses only very low doses of radiation. Because the level of radiation exposure needed to perform radiography is very low, even pregnant females (at 45 days or more of gestation) and very young pets can undergo radiography. Radiographs can be used to evaluate bones as well as the size, shape, and position of many of the body’s organs. The size of organs is important because some medical conditions—such as kidney, heart, or liver disease—can alter the size of these organs. The shape and position of organs can be altered or distorted by certain medical conditions, including intestinal blockage or cancer. Tumors, depending on their size and location, can also sometimes be detected using radiography. Radiography can also be used to diagnose bladder stones, broken bones, chronic arthritis, and certain spinal cord diseases, confirm pregnancy and determine the size of the expected litter and a variety of other conditions.
Radiographs are an important tool that can help us make a correct diagnosis for your pet. All of our radiographs/x-rays taken are sent to a board certified veterinary radiologist for review and interpretation (except for those taken for pregnancy checks and for the Orthopedic Foundation for Animals, OFA assessment). Having our radiographs reviewed by a boarded veterinary radiologist allows us to offer the highest quality medicine. Our radiology service is staffed by caring, skilled professionals who will provide state-of-the-art care with compassion and expertise.
Although humans and animals are different in many ways, some advances in human medicine are also very useful for veterinary patients. One of these advances, diagnostic ultrasound, has proven to be a powerful tool in veterinary medicine. As a practice, one of our goals is to offer state-of-the-art medicine and diagnostic testing; so we are pleased to offer ultrasound services as a means of providing a higher level of quality care to our patients.
Ultrasonography is a type of diagnostic imaging that uses ultrasound waves to produce an imaging study. This means that when we perform ultrasonography, we can see internal images of the patient’s body. Unlike some other imaging studies, like x-rays, ultrasonography does not use radiation. Instead, ultrasonography uses high-frequency sound (ultrasound) waves to create a picture of what is inside your pet’s body. Ultrasonography is a completely non-invasive, painless way to diagnose and evaluate many common diseases.
An ultrasound machine generates ultrasound waves. The machine is connected to a small probe that is held gently against your pet’s skin. The probe sends out painless ultrasound waves that bounce off of structures (for example, organs) in your pet’s body and return to a sensor inside the ultrasound machine. The ultrasound equipment collects these reflected “echoes” and uses them to generate images that are viewable on a screen. Ultrasound waves can generate excellent images of abdominal organs, including the liver, spleen, gallbladder, and kidneys. It allows us to look at the “architecture” of an organ, which x-rays do not allow us to do. It is also useful for assessing fetal health and monitoring pregnancy in breeding animals, and it can help us diagnose and stage (determine the severity of) some forms of cancer.
Because ultrasound images are produced in real time, this technology can be used to evaluate the heart as it beats. This can help us detect abnormalities in the motion of heart valves, blood flow through the heart, and contractions of the heart muscle. It can also be used to assess the heart for defects. As we strive to provide our patients with the highest quality medicine and diagnostic testing, we are pleased to offer ultrasound as one of our diagnostic capabilities.