Our hospital offers a number of diagnostic imaging services. Diagnostic imaging refers to the techniques and processes used to create images of your pet's body or body parts for medical purposes. These images allow your veterinarian to diagnose or re-examine a disease condition or determine if your pet's systems are normal.
At VCA Braelinn Village Animal Hospital, we provide digital radiology services to accurately diagnose and treat many medical conditions, allowing our veterinarians to visualize the problem quickly and efficiently.
Radiology is the use of ionizing radiation (x-rays) to produce an image of an internal body structure. Radiographs provide an overall impression of the body architecture and allow evaluation of internal organs as well as fluid and gas abnormalities.
With digital radiology, we are able to create high quality images that can be adjusted to better serve the patient, which results in quicker interpretation and effective medical therapies. Digital imaging also allows our staff to provide your primary veterinarian permanent records of your pet.
With the internal medicine team, contrast radiography is also available. Procedures include excretory urethrograms, myelograms, and bladder contrast studies.
Ultrasound uses high-frequency sound waves to look at organs and structures inside the body. Ultrasonography offers a non-invasive, non-painful method for the diagnosis and staging of many diseases as well as provide an excellent tool to study the organs and tissues in the abdominal cavity. Ultrasound may be used to evaluate the architecture of the structures in the abdomen, including the liver, spleen, kidneys, urinary bladder, adrenal glands, stomach, pancreas, intestinal tract and prostate or uterus and ovaries. It is also helpful in evaluating for enlarged lymph nodes, abdominal blood vessels or other abnormalities in the tissues. Ultrasound is also helpful in evaluating other soft tissue structures, such as masses, the thyroid glands as well as portions of the thorax, including functionality of the heart (echocardiography).
The typical ultrasound examination requires no tranquilization or anesthesia and is easily performed on awake animals. Prior fasting or water withholding is NOT required, but an empty stomach is helpful. The only patient preparation necessary is clipping of the hair overlying the area to be scanned (the ultrasound will not penetrate through air that gets trapped in the hair) and placing coupling lotion on the skin surface just prior to the exam process. The entire scanning process usually takes less than 30-40 minute. Images are displayed on the monitor of the ultrasound machine and are interpreted during the scan, so there is no delay in obtaining the results.
Although ultrasound capability is now offered in many general small animal clinics, many cases require the animal to be scanned (or re-scanned) by a specialist with training in ultrasonography. In addition, there are often questionable findings or the diagnosis is not "clear-cut" and a second opinion is in the best interest of the patient.
Ultrasound can also offer a method of obtaining tissues samples. Doppler ultrasound can also be used during any ultrasound study to evaluate blood flow in organs, tissues and structures.