Imaging – This involves the use of various techniques to build a ‘picture’ or image of an area of concern. Radiography (x-rays) and Ultrasonography (scans) are the most commonly used techniques. At Drumahoe Veterinary Clinic we use ‘state of the art’ digital equipment, and also have vets who are experienced and trained in Radiography and Ultrasonography.
Radiography – This involves the use of x-rays to create 2 dimensional ‘shadow’ pictures of tissues. X-rays are absorbed to different degrees by bodily structures, bones, tissues, fluid and air can be separately identified. A few x-rays are often taken at different angles to allow the vet to acquire a clearer ‘picture’ of the situation.
With digital technology it allows us the best opportunity of achieving a diagnosis in complicated medical situations.
Ultrasound – High frequency sound waves are emitted from a handheld probe placed in contact with the skin to produce an image. This 2 dimensional image is produced on the screen. It is possible to move the probe and gain an overall 3 dimensional assessment. An important advantage of Ultrasonography is that it allows us to see into the tissues, especially in the abdomen. The ultrasound probe needs direct skin contact which means a small patch of fur may need to be shaved over the particular area. Radiography and ultrasound are not painful procedures but require the patient to be relaxed and co-operative. A sedation or general anaesthetic is given in order to achieve high quality diagnostic x-rays.
Ultrasound is an invaluable tool for imaging soft tissues. It is used extensively in breeding programmes to determine number, size and visibility of pregnancies, or alternatively having the capacity to identify a positive pregnancy or negative.