Sometimes to establish an accurate diagnosis, it is important for us to be able to "look under the skin"! This can be done by either radiography (x-rays) or ultrasonography (scans) depending on the presenting issue.
Radiography can be used to detect fractures, changes in the heart and lungs, abdominal content problems, etc.
Our hospital is fully equipped to take radiographs of your pet. Our veterinarians will discuss your pet’s case and conduct a thorough physical examination to determine if your pet requires radiographs. Radiographs are a very important tool to help us diagnose diseases in animals, particularly for conditions involving bones (such as fractures), changes in the heart and lungs, as well as abdominal content problems (foreign bodies, growths, etc).
What happens to my pet when it is booked in for radiographs?
Most of our patients are admitted into hospital for the day to have radiographs taken, unless it is an emergency and we’ll take them immediately. We ask that you bring your pet in unfed on the morning of admission, as they will most likely be sedated or anaesthetised to allow us to take the best quality radiographs possible.
Once the radiographs have been taken we will give you a call or book an appointment for our veterinarians to show you the images and to discuss the diagnosis and treatment plan for your pet.
Why do pets need to be sedated or anaesthetised to have radiographs taken?
When we have radiographs (X-rays) taken the radiographer asks us to keep perfectly still, often in unnatural positions. Most pets would never lie still enough, in the correct position, for us to take good quality radiographs required to diagnose their condition. Sedation and anaesthesia allow us to get the most useful radiographs possible.
How are radiographs made?
Taking a radiograph is very similar to taking a photo, except we use X-rays instead of light rays. The usefulness of radiography as a diagnostic tool is based upon the ability of X-rays to penetrate matter. Different tissues in the body absorb X-rays to differing degrees. Of all the tissues in the body, bone absorbs the most X-rays. This is the reason that bone appears white on a radiograph. Soft tissues, such as lungs or organs, absorb some but not all of the X-rays, so soft tissues appear on a radiograph in different shades of grey. Our radiography equipment is modern and up-to-date, allowing us to link directly to the computer system and magnify or enhance the image at the click of a button to enable us to see issues clearly. We will demonstrate and explain the radiographs when your pet goes home.
Our hospital is fully equipped with an ultrasound scanner to assist evaluation of your pet’s condition if required. Our veterinarians will discuss your pet’s case and conduct a thorough physical examination to determine if your pet requires an ultrasound examination. An ultrasound scan is a very important tool to help us diagnose diseases and conditions in animals, particularly in the soft tissue structures and organs, and is also the diagnostic choice for checking on pregnancy in animals.
What is an ultrasound scan?
Ultrasound scanning is a painless procedure that uses high frequency sound waves (inaudible to humans) to produce images of structures within the body. When sound waves are directed into the body, some are absorbed by body tissues and others bounce back. The sound waves that bounce back are measured by the ultrasound machine and are transformed into an image on a screen. The images can be printed or recorded. Extensive training is required in order to correctly use this equipment and interpret these images.
Ultrasound scans are most useful for looking at soft or fluid-filled organs; like the liver, kidney, bladder and heart. It is less effective for examining bones or air-filled organs, like the lungs.
What happens to my pet when it is booked in for an ultrasound scan?
Some of our patients are admitted into hospital for the day to have an ultrasound scan done, while some can be done on the spot. If your pet is being admitted, we ask that you bring your pet in unfed on the morning of admission, as they may need to be sedated to allow us to do the best scan possible. We will let you know this in advance!
The area to be scanned may be shaved to allow a better view, so your pet may look different when they come home. No pain is felt during an ultrasound exam, however, discomfort from pressure may be experienced. Sedatives may be necessary for those animals that won’t stay still or are uncomfortable. During the scan a water-soluble gel is applied over the clipped area to be examined and a transducer (probe) is placed on the skin.
Once the scan has been done we will give you a call or book an appointment for our veterinarians to show you the images and to discuss the diagnosis and treatment plan for your pet.