Diagnostic imaging is a critical part of providing a valid diagnosis for your pet. Veterinarians use x-rays, ultrasounds and other testing to help them determine the health of your dog and a diagnosis for what ails them. Imaging and diagnostic testing is generally painless and non-invasive. The animal must be kept still for the testing, which is why sometimes sedation is necessary. The vet will use these diagnostics to formulate a treatment plan and to determine if surgery is necessary.
When Diagnostic Testing is Needed
After the vet does an initial exam, they may recommend diagnostic testing. X-rays are often the next step, especially when dealing with bones. An ultrasound may be another option in certain cases. An x-ray can be used to tell if a bone is broken or dislocated. It can also determine if the dog has swallowed an object that is now stuck inside somewhere.
An ultrasound may be the next step to provide even more information for the vet about the situation. It can also tell them if surgery is required.
What Happens with an X-Ray?
While an x-ray is a painless procedure, a hyper or nervous dog may benefit from sedation to ensure a clear picture. First, the dog will be placed on an x-ray table where the machine will only target a specific area. Thanks to modern equipment and technology, low levels of radiation are used. Pictures are taken, which only require a few minutes.
Most modern x-rays are digital, and the veterinarian can read them immediately. It’s also quick and easy to share them with a specialist for a second opinion.
What Happens with an Ultrasound?
Ultrasounds are also common for pets. This technique uses soundwaves to capture information about tissues. It helps the vet determine if the organs are working correctly.
A probe is pressed against the area being checked where soundwaves are emitted. The technician may move the probe around where the soundwaves echo based on the density of the body tissue. These echoes are converted into impulses and then digital images for the vet to review.
A vet is most likely to recommend an ultrasound when the dog is vomiting or has lost weight, has an apparent blockage to the kidneys or to check for heart disease.
These diagnostic tests aren’t painful, and they are helpful in providing an accurate diagnosis for your pet. They provide results quickly, so the vet can recommend a treatment plan.