Taking radiographs (X-rays) is a diagnostic procedure with which most people are familiar. As in human medicine, they are a commonly utilized diagnostic test in veterinary medicine. While taking the X-ray hasn’t changed much over the years, there have been major advancements in the processing of the images. In the past , the films had to be developed by hand in a darkroom or developed in a machine that processed the film. This was a very time-consuming process and if the film wasn’t of diagnostic quality, a second or third exposure had to be taken. This added additional time to the process as well as more exposure to radiation to the patient. At our practice we process the image using digital processing. It takes seconds for the image to appear on the computer screen, and if the image isn’t perfect, adjustments can be made in order to improve the quality. This normally eliminates the need for additional exposures. Another benefit is that if needed, the images can be sent via the internet to board certified radiologists for interpretation.
The other imaging technique we employ frequently is diagnostic ultrasonagraphy. This is the use of an ultrasound machine that produces images on a computer screen via sound waves. It is particularly useful for the diagnosis of diseases affecting the abdominal cavity as well as those affecting the heart. In most cases a specialist in veterinary internal medicine performs this test on-site and no sedation is needed.