Veterinary diagnostic imaging includes radiographs (x-rays), ultrasound, MRIs, and CT scans, all of which are used as diagnostic tools to collect information on your dog’s health. Dogs get sick and injured all the time, so compare pet insurance available in the market and choose the best one before this happens to yours. If it doesn’t involve a pre-existing condition, your insurance will help foot the bill for diagnostic testing.
The vast majority of imaging is non-invasive and completely painless. However, some imaging may require sedation or even anesthesia because the dog must remain still to produce adequate images. Veterinarians use these images to collect information on your dog to help them make a diagnosis and a treatment plan, which is sometimes surgical.
X-rays are usually the first line of imaging. The x-ray may lead to a diagnosis that allows them to move forward with a plan. However, sometimes the next step may be ultrasound to get a more thorough or specific look at a particular body area.
For instance, if your dog is vomiting and feeling ill, your veterinarian may take an x-ray to look for potential causes such as obstruction of the intestines or the presence of a foreign body. The x-ray may show some signs of intestinal obstruction; however, before proceeding to surgery, it would be prudent to follow with an abdominal ultrasound. The ultrasound will give more detail of the questionable area and allow more confidence in the treatment plan to proceed with surgery.
Occasionally, x-rays and ultrasound allow for a definitive diagnosis. At other times, they will add more information to help put the puzzle together for the best treatment plan for your dog. Again, your pet insurance policy will tell you what it covers across a diverse range of potential diagnoses.
The four veterinary diagnostic imaging techniques our veterinarians may utilise to assist in the diagnosis of your dog’s condition are:
- CT Scans
Dog x-rays have been in use throughout the medical community for many decades. Dog x-rays are the most regularly used form of diagnostic imaging in the veterinary industry because they are cost-effective. They can accurately diagnose the state of skeletal structure and composition, large body cavities, and many foreign objects. Dog x-rays are painless, but some dogs can benefit from sedation to reduce anxiety and stress.
Dog x-rays usually proceed like this:
- The dog is placed on the x-ray table
- A technician positions the x-ray machine so that the x-ray beam targets only the area of interest.
- Modern x-ray equipment allows for low radiation levels and, when used only occasionally, are perfectly safe for your dog
- Because dog x-rays are static images, the procedure usually requires less time than an MRI
Dog x-rays have traditionally been captured on actual film and this still can be done when necessary. However, x-ray images are now digital, which allows us to capture the images on a secure server that veterinarians can access and share with specialists.
A dog ultrasound is the second most common diagnostic imaging tool veterinarians use to diagnose a dog’s medical condition. Ultrasounds use soundwaves to examine and photograph internal tissues in real-time. An ultrasound allows a veterinarian to see into a dog’s body in real-time, allowing for easy viewing of organs from different angles that are not easily achieved through x-rays. In addition, we can observe the functioning of various organs and blood flow to determine if they are malfunctioning.
A dog ultrasound procedure usually proceeds like this:
- A dog ultrasound technician gently presses a small probe against the dog’s body that emits digital sound waves.
- The sound waves are directed to various parts of the dog’s abdominal area by manually shifting the probe’s position.
- The sound beam changes velocity while passing through varying body tissue density, which causes echoes.
- Our ultrasound equipment converts these echoes into electrical impulses that are transformed into a digital image representing the tissues’ appearance.
- A veterinarian can view these images in real-time and store them for further review.
Having pet insurance can help protect your finances in the event of a sudden accident or illness. Thebest pet insurance plan will reimburse you for certain medical expenses, including diagnostic testing and treatment. In the event of a surprise accident or disease, having insurance can protect your finances. Affordable pet insurance is a must-have for responsible pet parents who want to be financially safeguarded throughout their pet’s lifetime.