Diagnostic Imaging

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Diagnostic Imaging

Part of the challenge for a veterinarian is that we cannot ask pets, “Where does it hurt?” or “What seems to be the problem?” Diagnostic imaging often plays a pivotal role in arriving at an accurate diagnosis by allowing us to visualize the origin of often vaguely exhibited symptoms.

As in human medicine, imaging in the veterinary world is central to diagnosing and solving many medical problems. Beyond radiography (x-ray), AESC’s board-certified radiologists are trained in advanced imaging techniques such as ultrasound, CT, MRI, and fluoroscopy to help diagnose health conditions. If your pet is exhibiting concerning or uncomfortable symptoms and your family veterinarian is unable to determine a diagnosis, advanced imaging may be able to help.

At AESC, we want every pet to be as stress-free as possible. Occasionally we may consult with our board-certified anesthesiologist to administer medication that alleviates anxiety to facilitate a safe and calm diagnostic experience.

Diagnostic modalities

Radiographs (X-ray)

Radiographs are frequently used to diagnose health conditions because they can be obtained relatively quickly and give a good overall picture of the area of the body in question. Radiographs use a short burst of radiation to create an image of the body and are used to diagnose disease in the chest, abdomen, and musculoskeletal system. We may also use radiographs for surgical planning for fracture repair or TPLO surgery. AESC uses digital radiography, which allows us to efficiently obtain quality images, so your pet does not have to spend as much time getting tested.


Ultrasound produces images of the body through the use of sound waves, allowing us to see moving, real-time images. Compared to x-rays, ultrasounds can provide more detailed images of internal organs, such as the stomach, intestines, kidneys, liver, gallbladder, pancreas and spleen. Ultrasound may be used to help diagnose conditions such as intestinal foreign body, pancreatitis, portosystemic shunts, and to guide needles for diagnostic samples of tissue. At AESC, all ultrasounds are performed by board-certified veterinary radiologists.

CT (Computed Tomography)

A CT machine uses multiple x-rays at various angles to create “slice” images through a given area of the body. The multitude of images results in a much more detailed picture compared to traditional x-rays. CT is often used to evaluate the skull, lungs, musculoskeletal system, and tumors on or in the body prior to their surgical removal.


An MRI uses magnetic fields to create images of the body’s internal structures. This machine offers more detailed images of soft tissues compared to other imaging modalities and is performed to help diagnose tumors and inflammatory diseases of the brain and spinal cord, slipped discs affecting the spinal cord, and disorders of the inner ear.


Fluoroscopy is a continuous series of x-ray images that allow us to create a series of images of the body over a brief period of time. For example, fluoroscopy of the throat and esophagus allows us to evaluate the function of muscles involved during swallowing. Fluoroscopy is used to diagnose diseases that involve motion, such as swallowing disorders, collapsing trachea, motility problems of the stomach and intestines, and blood flow through abnormal vessels.