Your vet can gain valuable insight into your pet's health by using diagnostic tools to examine their internal functioning. These tests are crucial in maintaining your dog or cat's overall well-being. At Brodheadsville, our vets will walk you through the most common diagnostic tests for your furry friend.
Radiography - X-Rays for Dogs & Cats
X-rays are one of the most helpful and frequently used tools in veterinary healthcare. X-rays can help your vet get a view of your pet's bones, tissues, and internal organs to diagnose problems such as broken bones, bladder stones, swallowed foreign objects, and more. X-ray images can help vets to spot some tumors, pregnancy, and enlarged organs, which may lead to a diagnosis such as heart disease or cancer.
X-rays will not provide a detailed view of your pet's organs, tissues, or ligaments using X-ray technology. In these cases, other diagnostic imaging, such as MRI and Ultrasound is more beneficial.
Radiography, specifically digital X-rays, is a safe, painless, and non-invasive procedure for dogs and cats. The radiation dose used during the process is very low, making it safe even for pregnant dogs. However, sedation may be required to obtain a clear image of your pet's body. If your dog or cat is calm, comfortable, and not in pain, sedation may not be necessary. But if your pet is anxious, unsettled, or in pain, sedation may be required for a successful X-ray.
Ultrasound Imaging for Pets
Our beloved cats and dogs often get into things they shouldn't or develop health issues, such as cysts or tumors that require treatment. Ultrasounds are a form of imaging technology that transmits sound waves into your pet's body to produce a 'picture' of a specific body part. Veterinary ultrasounds are non-invasive and can be used to diagnose or evaluate problems with your pet's internal organs or check on your pet's pregnancy.
An ultrasound can help our vets examine the structure of your pet's organs so we can discover and identify blockages, tumors, or other problems.
To ensure your pet is properly prepared for ultrasounds on various parts of their body, it's important to consult with your veterinarian. Depending on the type of ultrasound, your pet may need to fast from food and water for up to 12 hours prior to the procedure, specifically for abdominal ultrasounds. Additionally, it's best to avoid allowing your pet to urinate for 3 to 6 hours before the ultrasound, if possible, as this allows for a more thorough examination of the urinary bladder. Your veterinarian can provide you with specific instructions on how to prepare your pet for their ultrasound best.
The area to be examined will likely be shaved so clear images can be produced. While most pets will remain still and cooperative during the ultrasound, some will need to be sedated.
PET/CT Scan for Pets
Computed Tomography - CT Scans for Dogs & Cats
The high-resolution images produced by the CT machine help your veterinary team to evaluate your pet's anatomy in great detail. This detail would be impossible to achieve with standard X-rays.
Your veterinarian can use CT scanners to generate high-quality images of your pet's bone and soft tissue structures. This technology is commonly used to examine the spine, nasal cavity, inner ear, bones, joints, chest, and lungs. Additionally, CT machines can evaluate lymph nodes, the thyroid gland, abdominal organs, the skull and brain, and vascular structures.
Positron Emission Tomography - PET Scans for Dogs & Cats
Veterinarians can use a CT scan along with a contrast agent administered via IV to detect enhanced blood flow in an animal's body. PET scans are helpful in detecting cancer and areas of inflammation. In humans, doctors use PET scans to understand how the patient's tissues and organs function comprehensively. PET scans are often utilized to identify and track cancer.
CT & PET Scan Process
CT and PET require that the animal stay completely still. For this reason, your vet will perform these diagnostic imaging tests while your pet is under general anesthesia. Your pet's vital signs are closely monitored while under anesthesia throughout the entire CT/PET process.
In most cases, a CT/PET scan only takes a short time. Once the scan is complete, a specialist will typically interpret the images, and a detailed report with findings and diagnostic recommendations will be sent to the vet handling your pet's treatment.
MRI - Veterinary Magnetic Resonance Imaging for Dogs & Cats
Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) has been readily available to help diagnose human health concerns since the early 1980s, but it is only recently that veterinary MRIs have become more widely used.
MRI scans can provide your vet with high-resolution, detailed images of your pet's soft tissues, including the brain, spinal cord, ligaments, tendons, and abdominal organs. For many types of soft tissue injuries or diseases, the use of veterinary MRIs can provide a more detailed image of your pet's body than other diagnostic imaging tools such as X-Rays or CT Scans.
If your dog or cat is exhibiting symptoms such as limping, lameness, seizures, joint pain, neck pain, back pain, or paralysis, an MRI might be recommended to help diagnose the cause of your pet's symptoms.
A dog or cat MRI usually takes around 45 minutes to an hour to complete. During the process, it is vital that the animal remains completely still for accurate results. Your pet will be given a general anesthetic before the scan to guarantee a successful outcome. Prior to the MRI, vets will usually suggest blood tests and X-rays to determine if your pet is healthy enough to undergo anesthesia.
Diagnostic Imaging at Brodheadsville Veterinary Clinic
Our Brodheadsville vets are pleased to provide veterinary diagnostic tests, including ECG/EKG, ultrasound, and digital X-rays. These diagnostic tools to allow us to provide you with an accurate diagnosis of your pets' medical issues. Contact us to learn more about veterinary care and diagnostic imaging at Brodheadsville Veterinary Clinic.
Note: The advice provided in this post is intended for informational purposes and does not constitute medical advice regarding pets. For an accurate diagnosis of your pet's condition, please make an appointment with your vet.