Radiology and Imaging
After a physical exam, and sometimes as a follow-up to a lab test when there is a problem or concern, your veterinarian may want to use an advanced technology called imaging to take a better look at your pet’s heart, lungs, brain, abdominal organs, bones or other areas to assist in diagnosis.
The process is safe and painless, and the two most common imaging services can be done in-house. One of our compassionate staff members will be with your pet for the entire process so they feel calm and safe.
The 2 most common imaging options are:
- Radiographs (X-rays) to look for masses and other organ abnormalities, bone fractures, and muscle or ligament damage. Radiographs can even be used in the later stages of pregnancy to find out how many babies your pet is having.
- Ultrasounds allow your veterinarian to view your pet’s internal organs for size and texture changes, as well as making sure blood flow is normal. An ultrasound can detect abdominal abnormalities, including bladder and kidney stones and uterine infections. Ultrasounds can also be used for guided aspirates on internal masses, making the procedure even safer and more accurate.
When an X-ray or ultrasound do not produce the necessary view for your veterinarian to clearly determine a diagnosis, then he or she may want to utilize an even more advanced diagnostic imaging option. This can include a CT scan, PET/CT scan combination or an MRI.
- A CT Scan is a computer processed combination of many X-ray images taken from different angles that produce virtual slices of the area in question, providing better differentiation of soft tissue. If you pet is having seizures, behavior changes or problems walking, your veterinarian may want to get a CT Scan.
- A PET/CT Scan reveals information about function and structure of cells and tissues in a single imaging session. This is most commonly used for cancer imaging to detect and grade it to determine what stage it is in and evaluate what treatment is best.
- MRI, or magnetic resonance imaging, are most often employed for diagnosing neurological or spinal cord problems. An MRI is less invasive because it does not use ionizing radiation, but it does require your pet to be anesthetized in order to remain completely still. For this reason and the expense factor, MRI’s are utilized when other methods fail to pinpoint the problem.
If your pet needs any type of imaging, we will work closely with you to explain the procedure(s) and possible diagnostic markers we are looking to determine and make sure that you have all the information you need to make the best decision for you and your pet.