Every week we have clients who bring in their pet due to lameness, respiratory issues, or abdominal pain. These patients often require radiographic imaging to “see” what is inside. Radiographs give us an opportunity to look beneath the skin to examine underlying tissues and determine the root of whatever is causing the patient’s issue. Obviously, fractures of bones are easily visible but we can also see many soft tissue abnormalities and even the occasional foreign body (like the magnets the kids knocked off the refrigerator or maybe your keys…..we’ve even seen a superball!). Technology in the veterinary industry is continuously evolving. At Westridge, we like to keep up with all of the state-of-the-art equipment available to better diagnose and treat your pet. One of the most valuable pieces of equipment that we use daily is our digital radiology system.
We are very fortunate to have a Digital Radiology (DR) system that is of the highest quality in technology, developing images in a matter of seconds. After our equipment produces the image in our x-ray room, we can begin evaluating the positioning and clarity of the image. This allows for safer techniques for both your pet and our vet technicians since there is less exposure to radiation and a decreased need for restraint of the patient. These images are incredibly accurate and give great clarity of internal structures.
The system also contains modules that allow magnification and notation on the films. We can adjust the contrast of the image and even measure the size of the patient’s heart to determine actual heart enlargement. See below for an example of a puppy that has a huge heart, but not in a good way.
"Radiographs give us an opportunity to look beneath the skin to examine underlying tissues and determine the root of whatever is causing the patient’s issue."
Lameness is a very common presenting sign for patients. The following case is very typical. This tiny puppy had been stepped on and couldn’t bear weight on one rear leg. Radiographs were ordered. This fracture is very obvious. Within just a few minutes after arriving in the exam room it is easy to determine that this patient will need surgery to repair the leg.
Another interesting case we had where our DR system proved its value involved a dog that was constantly straining to urinate and had some blood in his urine. Although the problem was palpable (the doctor could feel the stones through the abdominal wall), we wanted to get an idea of number and degree of blockage…
"When we recommend a radiograph to get a picture inside your pet, it quite possibly could save its life."
There are certainly times when we find more ominous issues on these images such as cancers, infections and bleeding/fluid. Without radiology and often ultrasound (blog coming soon), we are unable to see many things we might miss. In fact it is quite amazing the odd objects we have found swallowed by our furry friends, especially puppies. When we recommend a radiograph to get a picture inside your pet, it quite possibly could save its life.
We are very proud to offer this state of the art technology to keep your family members safe and healthy.
Dr. Murray, Dr. Burns, and Dr. Morgan will share some of their knowledge on subjects that most pet owners have questions about!
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