One of the most difficult aspects of animal ownership is determining if your pet is unwell. One of the main reasons for this is because animals are naturally inclined to try and hide their vulnerabilities, and this includes if they are sick or in pain. Unfortunately, this can make spotting symptoms of illness particularly tricky. When you do become aware that your animal needs veterinary intervention, it also may not be possible for your vet to determine the root cause of his illness immediately. In this instance, your pet will almost certainly be recommended to undergo some different types of testing. Some of these tests may come under a type of service known as radiology.
What is radiology?
Radiology is the name given to several different types of imaging tests including x-rays, ultrasounds, CT scans and MRI scans. These tests are primarily used to diagnose underlying health conditions as well as to monitor and track the progress of some treatments, for example, chemotherapy used to try and shrink a cancerous tumor.
X-rays are most often used to look at bones and joints, although they can sometimes be used to detect problems affecting the soft tissue.
Ultrasounds can be used to see various areas inside the body, but you have probably most often heard of it being used to detect pregnancy and monitor the health of unborn animals (and humans).
CT scans can produce images of a variety of structures inside your pet’s body including the internal organs, blood vessels and bones.
MRI scans can produce highly detailed images of inside your pet’s body, enabling your vet to more accurately diagnose complex health problems.
What health problems can radiology services help to diagnose?
It is very rare for radiology services alone to be sufficient to diagnose an animal with a specific health problem. The only real exception to this rule is when a pet has broken a bone, which can clearly be seen on an x-ray. In most instances, the results of the imaging tests, along with other information about your pet’s symptoms gathered by your vet, are compiled and then a decision is made about her health. Nevertheless, radiology services can help your vet to diagnose a range of different problems including:
– Broken bones or brittle bone disease
– Identification of cysts or tumors
– Problems with the major organs including the liver, kidneys, heart and lungs
In many cases, their results can also help your vet to diagnose the presence of cancerous cells in your pet’s body, even if a tumor has not yet developed.
Do the tests performed as part of radiology services hurt?
One of the biggest concerns for many pet owners is the idea of their animal being in pain. Fortunately, since all types of radiograph are non-invasive, your pet should not experience any discomfort. Nevertheless, your pet might become anxious and scared and for this reason, sedation is often available for those animals who need it. It is also important to bear in mind that your animal might need to remain perfectly still for some of the images to be taken in order for them to be accurate enough to use. Again, your vet may recommend that your precious pet is sedated so that the correct position and precise images can be obtained.
If you would like to find out more about veterinary radiology services, or if you would like to arrange an appointment for your animal to see our experienced and knowledgeable team, please contact our offices at your convenience.