General Practice Appointment Hours:

Mon-Fri: 8:00AM – 5:00PM,
Sat: 8:00AM – 12:00PM
 

Digital Imaging

Digital Imaging - Radiology and Ultrasonography

As technology leads us into the future and improves our lives, diagnostic imaging is no exception. Digital radiology and ultrasonography gives our practice the ability to diagnose conditions almost on the spot. This allows us to treat conditions faster and more effectively.

Digital Radiology

RadiologyIn the old days, a technician spent a considerable amount of time carefully positioning the x-ray machine and the pet to get just the right view of the area to be diagnosed. The x-ray films were then processed through a lab and sent back to our practice for viewing. A light box was necessary to view the films and we had only the naked eye to examine them. If perhaps the image was poor or blurry, we retook the x-rays and the whole process began again

With today’s most current digital radiography, our practice takes the x-ray image on advanced machinery which sends it directly to digital x-ray sensors for storage and display on a computer. There is no lag time and no waiting for films to process at a separate lab. This means if the exposure is poor or if Fluffy moved a little bit, we can see the flaws immediately and retake the x-ray right then and there. We can also share the image digitally instead of sending large films out through the mail.

Like most digital images, our practice can easily enhance the digital x-ray image on the computer. We can zoom in, or change the contrast and brightness for better viewing. Plus a digital x-ray technology creates a much clearer and detailed image than traditional x-rays. In identifying and analyzing changes of an ongoing condition that requires a series of images, our practice can utilize computer programs to assist us.

 

 

Ultrasound

An ultrasound is the second most common type of diagnostic imaging tool veterinarians use to diagnose a dog's medical condition. Ultrasounds use soundwaves to examine and photograph internal tissues in real time. An ultrasound allows a veterinarian to see into the body in real time, allowing for easy viewing of organs from different angles that are not easily achieved through x-rays. The functioning of various organs and blood flow can be observed to determine if they are malfunctioning.

An ultrasound procedure usually proceeds as follows:

  • An ultrasound technician gently presses a small probe against the dog or cat's body that emits digital sound waves
  • The sound waves are directed to various parts of the abdominal area by manually shifting the probe's position
  • The sound beam changes velocity while passing through varying body tissue density, which causes echoes
  • Our ultrasound equipment converts these echoes into electrical impulses that are then further transformed into a digital image that represents the appearance of the tissues
  • These images can be viewed in real time by a veterinarian, as well as stored for further review at any time

In modern scanning systems like the ones Eastside Animal Medical Center has on-site and uses on our canine and feline patients, the sound beam sweeps through the body many times per second. This produces a dynamic, real-time image that changes as the ultrasound device moves across the body. We can use the results of an ultrasound to determine what is ailing your dog or cat, and to devise the most effective treatment protocol.

Common symptoms that may cause a veterinary to use ultrasound include: vomiting, weight loss, urinary tract impairment or blockage, and heart disease.

Ultrasound FAQs

What is an ultrasound?

An ultrasound examination, also known as ultrasonography, is a non-invasive imaging technique that allows internal body structures to be seen by recording echoes or reflections of ultrasonic waves. Unlike x-rays, which are potentially dangerous, ultrasound waves are considered to be safe. Ultrasound equipment directs a narrow beam of high frequency sound waves into the area of interest. The sound waves may be transmitted through, reflected or absorbed by the tissues that they encounter.

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The ultrasound waves that are reflected will return as “echoes” to the probe, and are converted into an image that is displayed on the monitor, giving a 2-dimensional “picture” of the tissues under examination. The technique is invaluable for the examination of internal organs and was first used in veterinary medicine for pregnancy diagnosis. However, the technique is also extremely useful in evaluating heart conditions and identifying changes in abdominal organs.

Does the technique have any drawbacks?

Ultrasound waves will not pass through air; therefore, ultrasound examinations are of little value in examining organs that contain air. Ultrasound waves will not pass through air and therefore it cannot be used to examine normal lungs. Bone also stops ultrasound waves, so the brain and spinal cord are unable to be seen with an ultrasound study, and obviously, bones cannot be examined. Patients must be fasted when possible to help decrease the amount of gas in the GI tract during a scan.  Gas is air and can interfere with capturing quality images of many of the internal organs.

Are there different forms of ultrasound?

Depending on the images produced, ultrasound can take various forms. In veterinary work B-mode (brightness-mode) ultrasound, more commonly called 2-dimensional ultrasound is the most common form. This gives a two dimensional picture of the organ scanned. This is the type of ultrasound that is used to examine abdominal structures, perform pregnancy diagnosis, evaluate cardiac function and examine the eyes for certain eye diseases. M-mode (motion-mode) is a type of B-mode in which a tracing of the motion of the  structure being scanned is displayed. A combination of M-mode and 2-dimensional ultrasound are used for examining the heart walls, chambers and valves to evaluate cardiac function. Cardiac ultrasonography is usually referred to as echocardiography. Doppler ultrasound is a specialized form of cardiac ultrasound in which the direction and speed of blood flow in the heart and blood vessels can be measured. Color-flow Doppler technology makes it even easier to observe the flow of blood through the heart and important blood vessels.

Will my pet have to have an anesthetic?

Anesthesia is not usually needed for most ultrasound examinations, unless biopsies are to be taken. The technique is totally painless and most dogs will lie comfortably while the scan is being performed. Occasionally, if the dog is very frightened or fractious, a sedative may be necessary.

Is it necessary to shave my pet’s fur?

In most cases, the fur must be shaved to perform an ultrasound examination. Since ultrasound waves are not transmitted through air, it is imperative that the hand-held probe makes complete contact with the skin. In some cases, such as pregnancy diagnosis, it may be possible to get adequate images by moistening the hair with rubbing alcohol and applying a copious amount of water-soluble ultrasound gel. However, in all cases, the ultrasound images will be of better quality if the area to be examined is shaved.

When will I know the results of the examination?

Since an ultrasound study is performed in real time, the results of what is seen are known immediately. In some cases, the ultrasound images may be sent to a veterinary radiologist for further consultation. When this occurs, the final report may not be available for a few days.

Dental Radiology

Our practice uses digital radiology both for dental purposes and for your pet’s whole body. Dental digital radiology allows our practice to view the internal anatomy of the teeth including the roots and surrounding bone. In the rest of your pet’s body, digital x-rays can help us identify a fractured bone, or degeneration in a joint as well as sometimes identify foreign objects inside your pet’s body. An added bonus to digital radiology is the fact that it emits less radiation than traditional radiology.

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