Part of the challenge for a veterinarian is that we cannot ask pets, “Where does it hurt?” or “What seems to be the problem?” Modern veterinary medicine has worked hard to compensate for this lack of important patient-doctor communication. Diagnostic testing and imaging are essential to an accurate diagnosis, as we are able to get a better picture of the body and visualize the origin of often vague exhibited symptoms.
As with human medicine, imaging in the veterinary world is central to diagnosing and solving many medical problems. Our board-certified veterinary radiologists use technology like X-ray, MRI, CT and ultrasound as well as a trained eye to help diagnose health conditions. If your pet is exhibiting concerning or uncomfortable symptoms and your family veterinarian is unable to determine a diagnosis, he or she will often refer you to a radiologist for further work-up.
We use low-stress methods, including medication that alleviates anxiety when needed to ensure your pet has a safe, calm diagnostic experience.
Radiographs (X-ray): Radiographs are often our first line of defense when diagnosing health conditions, because they can be obtained relatively quickly and easily, and give a good overall picture of the area in question. When X-rays are focused on an area of the body, the resulting image can often give us a lot of information about what’s going on inside. Problems such as bone fractures or foreign bodies that would be hard to see from looking at the outside of your pet are often much more defined in an X-ray image. We also offer digital radiography, which frequently allows us to decrease the number of radiographs needed and is much more efficient, so your pet does not have to spend as much time getting tested.
MRI: An MRI uses magnetic fields to create images of the body’s internal structures without the use of radiation. This machine offers more detailed images of soft tissue than CT and radiographs (X-rays), and is very helpful in diagnosing disease in tissues like the brain, spinal cord, joints, muscles and ligaments.
Ultrasound: Ultrasound produces images of the body through the use of sound waves, allowing us to see moving, real-time images of the body without radiation. Ultrasound helps us visualize parts of the body, such as the heart and inside abdominal organs, that can be more difficult to evaluate with other imaging modalities.
CT (Computed Tomography): A CT machine uses multiple X-rays at various angles to create “slice” images through a given area of the body. This decreases overlap of structures in the body and results in better evaluation of complex areas, such as the skull. It lets us evaluate complicated disease, such as fractures with many small pieces or overlapping structures in the lungs, which would otherwise be extremely difficult to accurately assess.
Laboratory: Our in-house laboratory facilities provide for serum chemistry, hematology, serology, urinalysis and parasite testing. We use various laboratories across the nation for specialized diagnostics and consultations, and are also able to consult with board-certified specialists regarding any outsourced lab work.