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Diagnostic Imaging For Your Dog or Cat

Diagnostic tools help your vet understand what's going on inside your pet's body. Without them, keeping your dog or cat healthy would be challenging. Our New York vets explain common diagnostic tests for dogs and cats.

Radiography - X-Rays for Dogs & Cats

X-rays are commonly used in veterinary healthcare to diagnose various problems related to your pet's bones, tissues, and internal organs. They are a safe, painless, and non-invasive method of diagnosis that uses low doses of radiation, particularly in digital X-rays. X-rays can help your vet identify issues like broken bones, bladder stones, and swallowed foreign objects. They can also reveal tumors, pregnancy, and enlarged organs that may indicate serious health conditions such as heart disease or cancer.

However, X-rays cannot provide a detailed view of soft tissues, ligaments, and some organs. Other veterinary diagnostic imaging technologies like MRI and Ultrasound are more beneficial in such cases. Sedation may be necessary if your pet is anxious, in pain, or unable to stay still during the X-ray procedure. But sedation may not be required if your pet is calm and can lie comfortably in a relaxed position.

Overall, X-rays are a helpful tool that can assist your vet in diagnosing your pet's health problems and devising an appropriate treatment plan.

Ultrasound Imaging for Pets

Our furry friends, cats, and dogs, can sometimes get into trouble or develop health issues such as cysts or tumors that require medical attention. Ultrasounds are a type of imaging technology that uses sound waves to create an image of a specific part of your pet's body. Veterinary ultrasounds are non-invasive and can be used to diagnose or evaluate problems with your pet's internal organs or to monitor your pet's pregnancy.

An ultrasound can help our vets examine the structure of your pet's organs so we can discover and identify blockages, tumors or other problems.

Different parts of your pet's body require different preparations for ultrasounds. In order to prepare your pet for their ultrasound, it's best to speak with your vet. For abdominal ultrasounds, you may need to withhold food and water for 8-12 hours. It's ideal for your pet's urinary bladder to be full of urine during the ultrasound, which is why it's recommended to prevent your cat or dog from urinating for about 3-6 hours before the ultrasound, if possible.

The area to be examined will likely be shaved so clear images can be produced. While most pets will remain still and cooperative during the ultrasound, some will need to be sedated.

PET/CT Scan for Pets

Computed Tomography - CT Scans for Dogs & Cats

The high-resolution images produced by the CT machine help your veterinary team to evaluate your pet's anatomy in great detail - detail that would be impossible to achieve with standard X-rays. 

CT scanners provide veterinarians with high-quality images of dog's and cats' bony and soft tissue structures. This technology is primarily used to generate images of the spine, nasal cavity, inner ear, bones and joints, chest and lungs. Additionally, CT machines can be used to examine the lymph nodes, thyroid gland, abdominal organs, skull and brain, as well as vascular structures.

Positron Emission Tomography - PET Scans for Dogs & Cats

A CT scan, combined with the use of a contrast agent given to your pet intravenously (IV), allows vets to see increased areas of blood flow in the animal's body. PET scans aid in the detection of cancer and areas of inflammation. In humans, PET scans are used to give doctors a detailed view of how the patient's tissues and organs are working. PET scans are most commonly used to detect and monitor cancer.

CT & PET Scan Process

CT and PET require that the animal stay completely still. For this reason, your vet will perform these diagnostic imaging tests while your pet is under general anesthesia. Your pet's vital signs are closely monitored while under anesthesia throughout the entire CT/PET process. In most cases, a CT/PET scan only takes a short time. Once the scan is complete, a specialist will typically interpret the images. A detailed report with findings and diagnostic recommendations will be sent to the vet handling your pet's treatment.

MRI - Veterinary Magnetic Resonance Imaging for Dogs & Cats

Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) has been readily available to help diagnose human health concerns since the early 1980s, but it is only recently that veterinary MRIs have become more widely used.

MRI scans can provide your vet with high-resolution, detailed images of your pet's soft tissues including the brain, spinal cord, ligaments, tendons, and abdominal organs. For many types of soft tissue injuries or diseases, the use of veterinary MRIs can provide a more detailed image of your pet's body than other diagnostic imaging tools such as X-rays or CT Scans.

If your dog or cat exhibits symptoms such as limping, lameness, seizures, joint pain, neck pain, back pain, or paralysis, an MRI might be recommended to help diagnose the cause of your pet's symptoms. 

Dog and cat MRIs take between 45 minutes to an hour to perform. For an MRI to be successful the patient needs to remain absolutely still. In order to ensure that your pet's MRI is successful, a general anesthetic will be administered to your dog or cat prior to their scan MRI scan. Vets typically recommend blood tests and X-rays before the MRI to help ensure your pet is strong enough to be put under general anesthetic.

Diagnostic Imaging at Rivergate Veterinary Clinic

Our veterinarians at Rivergate Veterinary Clinic use advanced diagnostic tools, such as ECG/EKG, ultrasound, and digital X-rays to diagnose your pet's medical conditions accurately. We offer a wide range of veterinary care services, including diagnostic imaging. If you want to learn more about our services, please don't hesitate to contact us.

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.

If your dog or cat needs an X-ray, Ultrasound, or bloodwork contact our New York vets. We take pride in helping to restore the good health of pets.

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Rivergate Veterinary Clinic is accepting new patients! Our experienced vets are passionate about the health of New York companion animals. Get in touch today to book your pet's first appointment.

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