Canine and Feline Radiology
Veterinary Referral and Emergency Center is dedicated in offering a multitude of diagnostic imaging techniques and equipment for the diagnosis and treatment of our patients.
Included among the many imaging and diagnostic services we offer the following:
Digital radiography is state-of-the-art technology that provides a quicker and clearer radiographic image. Similar to a digital photo, a digital radiograph may be manipulated after it has been obtained to allow our doctors to view the image in ways that are not possible with film technology. VREC is pleased to announce the newest digital radiograph equipment in the area – we have a true digital radiography (DR) system, not computed (CR), which many others refer to as digital. These radiographs can be viewed and fully evaluated by our doctors within 2 seconds. Further, these images can be viewed on the internet from any computer. The doctors at VREC are able to send images via the internet to board-certified radiologists allowing rapid image interpretation.
Ultrasound allows identification of body organs by the use of safe and non-invasive sound waves. Ultrasound infrequently requires the use of sedation or anesthesia. Abdominal ultrasounds are often performed to evaluate the liver, gall bladder, kidneys, adrenal glands, urinary bladder, stomach, small intestines, pancreas, colon, peritoneum, spleen, lymph nodes and the prostate or uterus. In many cases, ultrasound imaging and/or ultrasound guided biopsies may preclude the need for major surgery. If an ultrasound guided biopsy is necessary, sedation and/or anesthesia may be required.
VREC is please to announce the newest ultrasound technology equipment in the area – we have capability for abdominal, thoracic, echocardiogram and more.
Computed Tomography (CT) Scan
Computed tomography (CT) scan is a special radiographic procedure that uses a computer to produce detailed cross-sectional images or “slices” of parts of the body. A CT scan allows assessment of the body that are otherwise difficult if not impossible to evaluate with traditional radiographic imaging methods. CT scans are sometimes performed with contrast agents to better accentuate abnormalities.
A CT is indicated for diseases of the brain, sinuses, inner ear, orbit, intervertebral discs, bones, joints, spine, and soft tissues. CT makes it possible to diagnose certain diseases earlier and more accurately than with other imaging tools. If a tumor is found, the CT scan may pinpoint its size and location. This information is necessary for the surgeon and/or oncologist to formulate a treatment plan. A biopsy of a tumor can be obtained using the CT scan to guide the needle, which also helps in the diagnosis and treatment.
Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI)
Powerful magnetic fields are administered to align the nuclei within the atoms of the patient’s body. Then radio-frequency pulses are applied until the nuclei finally release some of the radio-frequency energy. It is these emissions that are detected by the MRI equipment. Using this data, a computer generates a surprisingly detailed view of tissues within the body. MRI’s are frequently used to detect diseases of the brain, spinal cord, and other soft tissue areas of the body.
Anesthesia is required for veterinary patients undergoing CT or MRI imaging to prevent movement and obtain the most accurate diagnostic images. The length of anesthesia time is relatively short, and patients are well monitored during the procedure using equipment that measures heart rate, blood pressure, respiratory rate, and oxygen saturation levels.
VREC utilizes an off site CT and MRI center, however transportation to and from the hospital may be provided.
Nuclear medicine is a safe, painless technique for showing the physiology or function of the body’s organs making it distinct from other imaging modalities.
Nuclear medicine uses radiopharmaceuticals, comprised of radionuclide, such as technetium or radioactive iodine. Also called radiotracers or radioisotopes, they emit gamma radiation, which is captured by a gamma camera and creates an image to visualize organs, such as the heart, thyroid, gallbladder, and liver.
Using gamma radiation, not contrast (dye) materials, nuclear medicine provides a non-invasive means to help diagnose certain diseases and various medical conditions. Nuclear medicine also allows visualization of organs and regions within organs that cannot be seen on conventional radiographs, CT or MRI images. There are also no reactions to the radiopharmaceuticals, unlike many contrast agents used for radiographs, CT or MRI.
Each radioactive tracer targets a specific organ or organ system. Depending on the type of scan your pet is having, the tracer will be administered by intravenous injection immediately or a few hours prior to the beginning of the scan. The gamma camera works with computers to acquire data that is essential for a proper diagnosis. The amount of radioactive tracer your pet receives is small and your pet’s body will eliminate it within a few days via the urinary tract. The imaging techniques are modeled from human medicine, so your pet receives the same scan you would receive at a human hospital or imaging center.
Nuclear medicine is a less expensive but effective means to help diagnose many common diseases/illnesses. The tests are not technologist sensitive like ultrasound, and can evaluate function, not just anatomy like MRI and CT. They also can evaluate actual blood flow/perfusion to or through an organ which MRI and CT cannot.