Radiology in veterinary medicine is the branch of medicine in which doctors visualize the interior of a pet’s body using various forms of radiation. At Pennsylvania Veterinary Specialty and Emergency Associates we utilize an array of imaging technologies such as:
Radiography can be thought of as 'X ray photography'. The images that are formed by passing an X ray beam through some section of a patient’s body are recorded either on film or some form of digital media. Generally, the images recorded on film are viewed as transparencies on a lighted view-box or illuminator and the digital images are viewed on computer displays.
The general trend in the world is a transition from film-based to digital radiography. Pennsylvania Veterinary Specialty and Emergency Associates utilizes digital radiography for advanced diagnostics.
Digital Radiography, otherwise known as DR, is very similar to a digital camera. It gives us the ability to have "instant x-rays". Just as a digital camera no longer uses film to capture pictures, DR no longer requires x-ray film. Instead, our DR unit uses a laptop computer to capture our x-ray image. This allows us to obtain clear, superior images in a matter of moments. We no longer have to develop the x-ray, instead we are able to view the x-ray instantly. With the x-ray displayed on the laptop screen, we have the ability to magnify and adjust the image, giving us greater detail and accuracy for our diagnosis and treatment. In addition to improved quality and reduced processing time, DR allows us to store images on CDs or thumb drives and to share with colleagues either electronically by email.
Some of the specific advantages to digital radiography include:
Elimination of chemical processing of films
Reduced space requirements for storage of images
Ability to apply digital image processing to optimize image quality and visibility of pathologic conditions
Rapid transmission of images to other locations for viewing by physicians.
Computed Tomography (CT) is a painless imaging procedure in which an X-ray tube rotates around the patient and obtains a series of scan "slices" through a desired location in the patient. A dedicated high-speed computer reconstructs the received information into a series of cross-sectional anatomic images. These images can be manipulated to emphasize specific tissues such as bone or lung detail, soft tissue, and brain.
Common Uses for CT
- Chronic nasal/sinus disease or suspected neoplasia (cancer).
- Middle ear/chronic external ear disease.
- Pulmonary, mediastinal, or thoracic wall masses.
- Pulmonary metastasis screening/cancer staging.
- Pre-surgical planning and radiation treatment planning.
- High-resolution imaging of lung tissue.
- Brain imaging.
- Skull, spinal, and pelvic masses.
- Masses in the abdomen, retroperitoneal space, or deep muscular tissues.
- Lumbosacral or other spine region evaluation.
- Complex or subtle fracture evaluation.
- Elbow screening for fragmented coronoid process.
- Portosystemic shunt and ectopic ureter detection.
- Guided tissue sampling of lesions in deep lung tissues, sinus/nasal cavities or other skull regions, or abdomen or pelvic canal.
The CT Procedure
Anesthesia is necessary to ensure that your pet remains motionless during the procedure. While under anesthesia, your pet will be continuously monitored by a veterinarian. After your pet is anesthetized and positioned for the scan, an initial "scout" view is obtained. A series of thin image slices is then collected through the area of interest. Contrast medium containing iodine may then be injected into an intravenous catheter to enhance CT visualization of blood vessels or structures such as ureters, or to sharpen the margins of tumors or other lesions. If needed, and after discussion with you, biopsy of identified lesions can also be performed using CT or ultrasound guidance.
Dental disease in pets is quite common, yet frequently undiagnosed, affecting about 80% of dogs and 70% of cats by three years of age. Left untreated dental disease can be severely painful to your pet and can affect vital organs, such as the heart, kidney and brain.
By adding digital dental radiology to our dental procedures, doctors can better identify potential problem areas, and provide earlier treatment, considering that approximately 75% of dental disease is below the gum line and not visible to the eye.
Digital Dental Radiology is the gold standard for oral examinations in veterinary medicine. For many reasons, digital radiology is superior to older methods. We can evaluate the roots of your pet’s teeth for any signs of fractures, disease, or if the tooth is loosening from the gum. Most importantly, patient care is greatly improved through the ability to diagnose and treat different diseases that may otherwise have not been evident on the surface of the tooth.
Dental Radiology isn't a new form of technology. Your dentist has been performing this exam for years. Like you, your pet will have a better examination and your pet’s doctor will have the best available technology to make a diagnosis. The nice part about this digital technology is that it is faster and clearer than traditional film.
Ultrasound is a painless imaging procedure that uses high-frequency sound waves to generate images of soft tissue, organs, blood flow and other anatomy. It is noninvasive and does not involve the use of radiation. Ultrasound can be used to diagnose illness, characterize anatomy, and guide the direction of biopsy or other diagnostic sampling.
The Ultrasound Procedure
Most pets require no sedation and lay quietly for the procedure.
Especially nervous or wiggly patients may need sedation to enable a thorough examination although we find this infrequent. Sedation or brief anesthesia is usually employed if a biopsy or needle aspirate procedure is performed.
Once you arrive for your appointment, we will clip your pet's fur and apply ultrasound gel. Your pet will be placed on our ultrasound table and held while the doctor performs the ultrasound. If you wish to be present for the ultrasound we can accommodate you.
The doctor will review the findings with you, and with your veterinarian in the form of a written report .