At VCA Veterinary Referral Associates, 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 at VCA Veterinary Referral Associates.
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'ï¿½) 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.