Your vet uses diagnostic imaging to view the internal structures of your dog, which allows them to have a more accurate picture of your pooch's overall health. Today, our Tracy vets tell you more about different types of diagnostic imaging tools, and the variety of uses that they have in veterinary medicine.
You're probably familiar with X-rays (radiographs), ultrasounds, MRIs and CT scans; these are also used to see your dog's 'inner workings'. Usually, your veterinarian will perform a physical examination on your pet, including checking their eyes, skin/fur, dental health, and listening to their heartbeat. However, these checks can only offer limited insight into your dog's internal health.
Some Types of Diagnostic Imaging for Dogs
Different methods of diagnostic imaging can be used to focus on different parts of your pet's internal anatomy, which helps your veterinarian to more accurately pinpoint any medical issues.
X-rays (radiographs) are probably the most commonly used diagnostic tool in veterinary clinics and animal hospitals. X-rays for dogs are much similar to that of people, although, of course, the machine is smaller. It uses very small doses of radiation, making it safe for puppies and pregnant dogs.
X-rays can be used to identify broken bones, chronic issues like arthritis, or internal medical concerns such as intestinal blockages caused by foreign objects. It is likely that your dog will be put under sedation for their own comfort and to ensure that the vet and vet technicians can get the most accurate images.
Ultrasounds are probably the second most-used diagnostic tool (after x-rays), and can be useful in identifying medical issues affecting your dog's internal organs and soft tissues.
A small probe is used to press against your pet's body, sending sound waves into the area. The images of your dog's internal organs and tissues is created by the returning 'echoes' of the sound waves. Ultrasounds may be used in conjunction with X-rays to get a clear diagnosis of conditions like heart disease; while X-rays can show structures like the heart, an ultrasound can show more details like blood flow, weakened heart walls, or fluid buildup. Ultrasounds provide information for more effective treatment plans for your pet.
Is diagnostic imaging safe for my dog?
Yes! These methods of diagnostic imaging are both safe and non-invasive, but your vet will also take the step of ensuring your dog is able to undergo whatever tests they feel are necessary. For healthy dogs, dogs suffering from injury or illness, and dogs with special needs (e.g. geriatric pets, dogs with chronic diseases or conditions) diagnostic imaging is a key part of ensuring they receive the best care and treatment from their compassionate, professional vet team.
Note: The advice provided in this post is intended for informational purposes and does not constitute medical advice regarding pets. For an accurate diagnosis of your pet's condition, please make an appointment with your vet.