Otherwise known as digital X-rays, this equipment (like traditional X-rays) allows us to visualize your pet's internal organs, bones, joints, and spine. The major differences between digital X-rays and traditional film X-rays are a) the quality of the images produced, and b) the time it takes to acquire the image. Digital X-ray images are of a much higher quality than film X-rays, allowing for more accurate diagnosis of your pet's medical condition. Digital radiology also allows us to view the images in a much shorter amount of time than film X-rays, because traditional film has to be developed prior to viewing. This is particularly important in emergency and critical care situations where seconds matter. Digital imaging also allows us to easily transmit the X-rays through email or telemedicine services to a board-certified radiologist for consultation. Whereas in the past it took several days to ship the X-rays via mail and receive back a report, it can now be done in just a few minutes. We utilize both traditional and dental digital radiography.
We have all seen ultrasound used by physicians to evaluate a fetus during pregnancy, but ultrasound can also be used to look at other internal organs including the heart, bladder, small intestine, colon, spleen, stomach, pancreas, liver, gallbladder, kidneys, adrenal glands, blood vessels, and lymph nodes. An ultrasound machine emits a very high-frequency sound wave that bounces off of different tissues at different rates. The returning waves are then captured by a probe that turns the sound into real-time images. We use the ultrasound for a large number of cases, because it is a very versatile tool for diagnosis of a wide variety of dog and cat medical problems.
We recently added a flexible fiber optic video endoscope to our diagnostic imaging arsenal. This tool allows us to view the inside of the gastrointestinal and respiratory tracts to look for evidence of infection, cancer, foreign objects, or inflammatory conditions. The endoscope is minimally invasive, which means less pain and less recovery time for your pet. Many tasks that we can perform with an endoscope would otherwise have to be done surgically, which would mean more discomfort, longer recovery, and more risk of complications. In addition, we are often able to take biopsy samples or retrieve foreign objects from the G.I. tract, thus avoiding a more invasive surgery.
All of our x-rays and ultrasound studies are reviewed by a board-certified radiologist using internet telemedicine technology. We usually get the reports within about an hour, leading to more timely diagnosis and treatment.