Dog diagnostic imaging provides your veterinarian with a clear picture of what’s going on inside your dog’s body and typically involves an x-ray, ultrasound, CT scan, or MRI. These diagnostic tools are critical in providing a definitive diagnosis and treatment plan for the symptoms your dog is experiencing.
If you are located near Austin, TX, we are here to answer your questions and provide any diagnostic testing your dog may need. Please feel free to reach out to us at (512) 892-9038.
How does diagnostic imaging help diagnose my pet?
Diagnostic imaging helps us see what's happening inside your dog when they are exhibiting certain symptoms. At Central Texas Veterinary Specialty & Emergency Hospital, we look for things that are abnormal or out of place. Diagnostic imaging is a safe and noninvasive way for us to look inside your dog without causing them discomfort.
What are the different types of diagnostic imaging?
The main diagnostic imaging technologies we use at Central Texas Veterinary Specialty & Emergency Hospital are x-ray and ultrasound. If something more involved is needed, such as a CT scan or MRI, we will send your dog to a specialty hospital where that equipment is readily available, along with a specialist or veterinary radiologist. The type of diagnostic imaging used is based on what your veterinarian is trying to diagnose.
Dog diagnostic imaging includes:
- X-rays for dogs – Where we look at bones for signs of skeletal abnormalities
- Dog Ultrasound – For looking at soft tissue issues
- Dog MRI and CT scans – For looking at soft tissue that is encased in bone, such as the brain
What does a veterinary radiologist do?
A veterinary radiologist has received additional education following veterinary school to become certified and specialized in all forms of diagnostic imaging and interpret the images to provide a definitive diagnosis. Your veterinarian may refer you to a veterinary radiologist at a specialty hospital if the suspected diagnosis requires a CT scan or MRI, or perhaps for a second opinion.
The American College of Veterinary Radiology offers more insight into when your dog might need a veterinary radiologist and the various specialties.
What are some of the things that diagnostic imaging looks for?
Diagnostic imaging serves many purposes. We use it for a closer look at areas that may help explain the symptoms your dog is presenting. While x-ray is helpful, ultrasound is more sensitive and specific for conditions that we can’t see with an x-ray.
Dog diagnostic imaging looks for:
- Heart and lung abnormalities
- Tumors on organs
- Foreign objects in the intestinal tract
- Disease or masses inside the organs
Is diagnostic imaging safe for my dog?
Diagnostic imaging is completely safe for your dog. Since veterinarians do x-rays so infrequently on a dog, the level of radiation exposure is minimal and therefore very safe. Ultrasound imaging is also safe and is the same technology used for imaging babies in the womb. Diagnostic imaging is an effective way to learn more about what’s going on inside your pet without an invasive procedure.
Will my dog need to be sedated for diagnostic imaging?
In most situations, your dog will be awake for an x-ray, although scenarios do exist where sedation might be helpful, such as when a specific view is needed that might cause discomfort. For example, if your veterinarian needs x-rays when hip dysplasia is suspected, manipulating your dog’s limbs works best under anesthesia. The need for anesthesia can also depend on your dog’s temperament. For more advanced imaging such as a CT scan or MRI, which requires a large machine and your dog sitting perfectly still, sedation is needed.
If you have further questions about dog diagnostic imaging, reach out to your primary care veterinarian. Our specialists are always available to your primary care veterinarian for consults!