X-ray technology has been used since the late 1800’s to get a non-invasive peek inside a living body.
If you’ve ever broken a bone or eaten something you shouldn’t have when you were a kid, you’re probably familiar with how the process works. But what some people don’t know is that x-rays and other forms of diagnostic imaging can be used on animals as well.
Bickford Park Animal Hospital has access to several different types of diagnostic imaging tools to help diagnose illnesses or injuries.
Veterinary X-Rays For Pets
There are some types of illnesses and injuries that can be diagnosed based on a surface-level examination. But others need a deeper examination. A veterinary x-ray can help paint a clearer picture of what’s going on inside your pet in order to better decide on a course of treatment.
Veterinary x-rays can be used to diagnose a number of different veterinary health concerns.
When most people think of x-rays, they think of diagnosing broken or sprained bones. This is true of veterinary medicine as well. X-ray imaging is exceptionally effective at revealing the presence of broken or sprained bones. If your pet is favouring a limb or having difficulty walking, your veterinarian may recommend you have an x-ray completed.
Just like with humans, cats and dogs can be afflicted with arthritis as well. If your pet is showing some of the signs of arthritis – stiffness, lethargy, discomfort, swollen joints, or isolation – your vet may recommend x-ray imaging to be sure. If your veterinarian finds the spaces between your pet’s joints have narrowed, bone spurs, or angular deformities, they may diagnose arthritis.
In general, cats and dogs like to hide the fact that they’re in pain. This comes about as a result of being a predator in the wild, but not an apex predator. A sick animal is a target, so your pet may not make it obvious to you that they have a dental issue.
However, if your pet is avoiding hard food or hard treats or not playing with their toys as usual, it may be a sign of a dental infection. Your veterinarian may opt for an x-ray to be sure.
Dogs eat things they shouldn’t all the time. Cats do too, but it’s far more common to find dogs with something strange in their belly.
Objects found in the stomachs of dogs include socks, rubber duckies, jacks, lightbulbs, coins, cell phones, computer mice, and eyeglasses. Obviously, these things don’t belong there, and your vet may recommend an x-ray to figure out what’s inside your pet and how to get them out.
X-rays sometimes have difficulty with certain types of plastic, however. In these cases, your veterinarian may recommend an endoscopy.
X-rays can be used to spot certain types of tumours and cancers. In particular, the following types of cancer show up quite clearly on x-rays:
- Bone cancer
- Lung cancer
- Breast cancer
Most tumours can be diagnosed with x-ray imaging, though smaller tumours can sometimes blend in with their surroundings.
Other conditions x-ray imaging can be used to diagnose include, but are not limited to:
- Lung infections
- Intestinal blockages
- Bladder stones
In general, x-rays can reveal a clear picture of your dog or cat’s internal organs and tissue.
An ultrasound is another diagnostic imaging technique your veterinarian may opt to use to explore the inside of your pet. Unlike x-rays, which use x-ray radiation for imaging, an ultrasound uses high-frequency soundwaves to create live images of the inside of your pet’s body. It’s based on the same technology as radar and sonar.
X-ray imaging produces a still image of your pet’s insides, while ultrasounds create ongoing moving images. This provides a variety of different benefits over x-rays.
When you think of ultrasounds, you may think of pregnancy and helping expecting parents get their first glimpse at their growing baby. This is one of its uses, and since it doesn’t use radiation like x-rays it’s the preferred method for this. But ultrasounds can be used for many other purposes as well.
Bickford Park Animal Hospital is equipped with an ultrasound imaging machine to diagnose smaller issues. For more complex diagnostics, your veterinarian may refer you to a more advanced facility
Ultrasounds are effective at detecting the presence of tumours. However, your veterinarian won’t be able to tell if your pet’s tumour is cancerous through ultrasound alone.
Dogs are known for eating strange things that really aren’t food. These foreign objects can become lodged in your dog’s digestive tract and cause obstructions, interfering with their regular digestive functions. Cats are also vulnerable to this, though not quite as often.
Bowel obstructions can also occur naturally as a result of a tumour or cancerous growth, hernias, gastroenteritis, and intussusception, among others.
Ultrasound imaging can be used to detect the cause of these obstructions.
Contact Bickford Park Animal Hospital
Is your pet acting strangely? Are you noticing any behavioural changes that you’re having trouble pinpointing on an obvious cause? If so, contact Bickford Park Animal Hospital.
Your veterinarian will conduct a thorough physical exam of your pet and work to rule out certain conditions. Then, if it makes sense, they’ll discuss your options for internal diagnostic imaging. Contact Bickford Park Animal Hospital to book an appointment, and take your first step toward a happier, healthier pet.