When we need to figure out what’s wrong with your dog or cat, we routinely use X-rays and ultrasounds to identify or rule out the cause of the problem or provide a list of possible causes. We also use these diagnostic tools during a wellness exam to diagnose potential problems before they become serious.
What is an X-ray?
X-rays provide valuable information about a dog or cat’s bones, gastrointestinal tract (stomach, intestines, colon), respiratory tract (lungs), heart, and genitourinary system (bladder, prostate). We often use X-rays alone or in conjunction with other diagnostic tools, like ultrasounds. Our expert veterinarians use a high degree of skill to interpret your dog or cat’s X-rays. We offer digital radiology, which is X-rays that are captured digitally rather than on film. This technology allows us to provide you with a quicker diagnosis for your dog or cat. Plus, it uses less radiation than traditional X-rays. To avoid a blurry image, your dog or cat needs to remain completely still while an X-ray is taken. In some cases, we may need to sedate them or use short-acting general anesthesia.
Does an ultrasound use radiation?
Ultrasound does not involve radiation, has no known side effects, and doesn’t typically require your dog or cat to be sedated or anesthetized. The hair in the area to be examined usually needs to be shaved so the ultrasonographer can get a good result. Ultrasounds are a non-invasive, pain-free procedure that uses sound waves to examine internal organs and other structures inside the body. It can be used to evaluate the dog or cat’s heart, kidneys, liver, gallbladder, and bladder; to detect fluid, cysts, tumours, or abscesses; and to confirm pregnancy or monitor an ongoing pregnancy.
How does an ultrasound work?
The ultrasonographer applies gel to the surface of the body and then methodically moves a transducer (a small handheld tool) across the skin to record images of the area of interest. The gel helps the transducer slide more easily and creates a more accurate visual image. The transducer emits ultrasonic sound waves, which are directed into the body toward the structures to be examined. The waves create echoes of varying degrees depending on the density of the tissue and the amount of fluid present. Those waves create detailed images of the structures, which are shown on a monitor and recorded for evaluation.