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VCA Hollywood Animal Hospital utilizes an advanced computed tomography (CT) scanner system with enhanced features for greater patient comfort and safety, quicker exam times, and improved image quality for faster, more effective diagnosis and treatment. This is particularly important when determining the extent of injuries in trauma cases, where every second counts.

While CT uses X-ray technology, it is distinguished from other imaging tools like traditional X-ray and MRI by its ability to display a combination of soft tissue (like muscles, tissue, organs and fat), bones and blood vessels all in a single image. Clinicians perform CT scans to diagnose kidney, lung, liver, spine, blood diseases, cancer, tumors and cysts, as well as blood clots, hemorrhages and infections.

During a CT exam, a patient lies on a table and is slowly moved into the large donut-shaped opening of the scanner. Once inside, a series of X-ray beams create hundreds of cross-sectional pictures that represent slices of the patient's body. Seconds later, the system's computer assembles the slices into three-dimensional images that are interpreted by a clinician.

Multi-detector CT has dramatically improved clinicians' ability to accurately diagnose disease at an early stage. Offering superior imaging capabilities, it is a powerful diagnostic tool that uses rotating X-rays to penetrate body tissues, generating multiple slice images, which can detect more than traditional radiography.
CT can also be used to guide a biopsy of an abnormality within the body less invasively than with surgery. Veterinary patients need to be anesthetized for CT scans, so that they will hold still long enough for the examination. Every patient that presents for a CT scan will receive a thorough physical exam, and will have a review of recent bloodwork and other testing done prior to anesthesia to ensure they are good candidates for anesthesia. Also, every patient anesthetized at VCA HAH is closely monitored while under anesthesia by a veterinarian and a certified veterinary technician. VCA HAH has a dual slice CT scanner, capable of helical scanning, a technology which allows more rapid scanning of the patient than non-helical CT machines. Surgical suites and the ICU (with board certified surgeons, internal medicine specialists, neurologists, emergency and critical care, and other specialists) are close by.

Computed tomography (CT) is a diagnostic tool that uses x-rays to obtain cross-sectional images of the body. CT is commonly used to image:

Lungs and other thoracic (chest) structures
Orthopedic conditions such as elbow dysplasia, complex fractures, tumors or infections, etc.
Skull, nasal cavity and sinuses, middle or inner ear disease.
Can be used to diagnose vascular liver shunts and other abdominal diseases such as adrenal tumors or liver tumors, assisting a surgeon to plan a difficult surgery to remove or treat these abnormalities.

 

Diagnostic Imaging

At VCA Hollywood Animal Hospital, we utilize advanced diagnostic tools, including state-of-the-art imaging, to more quickly and accurately arrive at diagnosis of a medical condition and thus develop the treatment protocol for a patient faster. In addition, our hospital's board certified specialists in veterinary radiology have advanced training and years of experience in this highly-specialized area. This ensures that your pet will receive only the best medical care and attention with us.

What Is A Veterinary Radiologist?

A board certified specialist in veterinary radiology is a licensed veterinarian who has obtained intensive, additional training in all aspects of radiology, such as radiographs (x-rays), ultrasonography, CT, MRI, nuclear medicine, and biopsy techniques. A veterinary radiologist is trained to make optimal use of sophisticated, high tech equipment that can aid in the diagnosis and proper treatment of many serious diseases.

Specialists in veterinary radiology typically work in support of general practice veterinarians and other specialists. The signs of disease on a veterinary x-ray or ultrasound are often very subtle. It can take significant expertise to read these subtle signs and, therefore, such signs are less likely to be missed or misinterpreted if an expert in veterinary radiology is consulted.

Why Does My Pet Need To Be Referred to A Veterinary Radiologist?

Specialists in veterinary radiology frequently work in a support role with general practitioner veterinarians or other types of specialists in order to help:

  • Prioritize a set of possible diagnoses
  • Identify the extent of disease in the body (including which organs may be involved)
  • Identify traumatic injuries
  • Identify internal tumors and masses
  • Guide future diagnostic procedures
  • Provide additional expertise or a second opinion by reviewing routine x-rays, ultrasounds, etc.
  • Assist in performing biopsies or fine needle aspirates

Rarely, general practices have board certified veterinary radiologists on staff within their own hospitals. In most cases, general practitioners will consult with or refer patients to veterinary radiologists at referral practices. While many general practitioners routinely take radiographs or offer ultrasonography in their own practices, board certified radiologists are frequently needed for additional consultation. Thanks to the magic of telemedicine, veterinary radiologists can also review images and offer consultation remotely to any practice via the Internet.

A CT ('cat scan') or MRI study can be an important diagnostic tool in determining the cause of illness and extent of a disease or diseases in a veterinary patient. Due to the expense of the equipment and the specialized training required, these types of services are generally available only at referral facilities or teaching hospitals.

While your regular or primary care veterinarian can manage many aspects of your pet's care, there is sometimes a need for the attention of a specialist to either take over the pet's treatment or work in tandem with the doctor as veterinary radiologists typically do. You can be assured that a veterinarian who knows when to refer you and your pet for more specialized diagnostic work or treatment is one that is caring and committed to ensuring that your pet receives the highest standard of medical care for his or her problem.

Will My Regular Veterinarian Still Be Involved In My Pet's Care?

Yes. In almost all cases, your regular veterinarian will still supervise your pet's veterinary care. Veterinary radiologists typically work in concert with your veterinarian and other specialists to diagnose and treat your pet's injuries and illnesses. They help provide your primary care veterinarian with additional information about your pet's health status.

Our Diagnostic Imaging Services

Diagnostic Imaging/Radiology
Abdominal Ultrasonography-Abdominocentesis and Cystocentesis
Computed Tomography (CT scanning)
Digital Radiography

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