Diagnostic Imaging | A of Looking Inside the Body of a Pet

New Advances in Digital Radiography and Ultrasound Technology for Pets!

So your Terrier, Mac, has been whining a lot lately, and worried, you take him to the friendly neighborhood veterinarian, who, suspecting an abnormality in Mac’s internal organs, prompting asks you to get a Radiography done. Before you get Mac’s Radiography done at the nearest diagnostic center, it’d help you a great deal to learn a little about Radiography for pets – the old way and the new way, and also a bit about Ultrasound. Read on for a better understanding of these things!

Radiography: The Old Way vs. The New Way

No more than 5 years ago, the most common way to get your pet’s Radiography done was X-Ray Radiography, where you had your pet cat or dog placed on an X-Ray table, had the X-Ray machine focused on it, which produced a plain X-ray radiograph, which was then studied by doctors, after pinning it on a wall and focusing a beam of light on it. Well, nothing wrong with this method, but the world has moved on, and we have much better technologies these days, that are a lot more effective.

And by “better technology”, we mean, of course, Digital Radiography done by the Digital X-Ray machines. How are they different? Well, while the way the X-ray radiographs are taken are the same as in the old way – your pet dog or cat is placed on an X-ray table and subjected to an X-ray beam, what’s different is the process of development of the graphs. Taking X-rays is done the same way, but the processing of the images has completely changed.

The X-Ray is taken, and then radiograph is fed to the brand new digital machine, which displays the radiograph on a digital screen, using some really cool Digital Imagery. There are a plenty of things that we can do with these digital images, we may work on them, manipulate them, just the way we see fit.

What doctors usually do is to enlarge the images so that they become a lot clearer, focus on a particular part or an organ that is of a major concern, enlarge it further, check for any abnormality. For instance, if doctors suspect a problem with your pet’s heart, they can zoom in on the heart’s image, focus on the particular region of the heart that is of a concern to them and reach a better decision. Similarly, they could focus on the liver or any of the teeth, and so on.

The kind of detailed information that can be got from Digital Radiography is just incredible. There are a lot of other things that doctors can do with this technology, such as, contrasting the images, sending the images by e-mail to specialists in hospitals all over the globe for a second opinion, saving them on a compact disc, and so on.

Ultrasound for Pets

Using Ultrasound technology for diagnosis of pets is a wonderful development in medical science. Ultrasound can be used to closely observe the internal organs of your pet cat or dog, such as its digestive tract, heart and lungs, and do so without having to be invasive in any way. This helps greatly in the proper diagnosis of a number of health issues, throwing light on previously unobserved problems.
Sonograms are Ultrasound scans, that make use of a technology also used by submarines and ships at sea. This involves focusing very high-frequency sound waves on the tissues of the internal organs of your pet’s body. These sound waves are in turn reflected by the tissues, and the reflection is then recorded by the Ultrasound machine, which then instantly converts them into visual images and displays the images on the screen for the doctors to study and observe closely. All of these things happen instantaneously, making it possible for the doctors to observe your pet’s heart beats, any movement in its intestinal tract and so on to help them reach a better decision about your pet cat or dog’s health.
But when you take your pet for an Ultrasound examination, just make sure it is being done by a qualified expert, as a mistake in the diagnosis can be potentially fatal.

What are Special Contrast Radiographic Studies?

Briefly, Special Contrast Radiographic Studies refer to the process of using a contrasting material on the affected region of your pet that is being closely observed, before subjecting it to a series of X-rays. The contrast helps in adding a lot of detail to the imagery, and so the doctors are aided in their diagnosis about your pet’s condition in a big way. This contrasting material could be a colored liquid which is injected into your pet.

The various ways of doing Special Contrast Radiographic Studies include –

Intravenous Pyelogram (IVP):

Involves an X-ray examination of your pet cat or dog’s kidneys, the bladder and the drainage from the kidneys to the bladder. A contrast is used, usually a special dye injected into your pet, which helps present the doctors with excellent imagery of these internal organs.
Myelogram:
Myelogram uses a contrast material made of a special dye, which is injected into your pet. Your pet is then subjected to X-rays. The focus is on the bones of your pet, especially on the fluid filled region between the bones of the spinal canal. It’s very useful to detect any problems in your pet’s spine such as herniated discs and so on.
Urogram:
Urogram uses X-rays and a contrast made of a special dye, which is injected into your pet, to focus on your pet’s urinary tract, and help the doctors diagnose better serious issues such as kidney stones and cancer of the urinary tract.