Diagnostic imaging is a valuable tool our Los Angeles County veterinary team utilizes to diagnose and treat your pet's health concerns accurately. The type of imaging used may vary depending on your pet's specific condition and will be recommended by your veterinarian. Some common tests include X-rays, MRI, and CT scans.
Radiography - X-Rays for Dogs & Cats
X-rays are a commonly used and effective tool in veterinary medicine for diagnosing a range of health issues.
They provide a clear image of your pet's bones, tissues, and internal organs and can detect problems such as broken bones, bladder stones, and foreign objects. X-rays can also indicate the presence of tumors, pregnancy, and enlarged organs that could indicate serious conditions like heart disease or cancer.
However, they may not provide a detailed view of soft tissues and ligaments, in which case other diagnostic imaging like MRI or Ultrasound may be more suitable. X-rays are safe, non-invasive, and painless, using low doses of radiation.
Digital X-rays use even lower levels of radiation. Sedation may be required for anxious or uncomfortable pets, but it is not necessary for calm pets who can lay comfortably during the X-ray process.
Ultrasound Imaging for Pets
Ultrasound is a non-invasive imaging technology that uses sound waves to create images of your pet's internal organs and detect issues like blockages, tumors, or pregnancy.
Preparation for an ultrasound varies depending on the part of the body being examined. Your veterinarian will provide instructions on how to prepare your pet, which may include withholding food and water for 8 to 12 hours, especially for abdominal ultrasounds.
To ensure clear images, the area being examined may need to be shaved, and for urinary bladder exams, your pet should not urinate for 3 to 6 hours prior to the ultrasound. In some cases, sedation may be necessary for pets that are not cooperative during the procedure.
PET/CT Scan for Pets
Computed Tomography - CT Scans for Dogs & Cats
CT scans produce highly detailed images of your pet's anatomy, allowing for a more thorough evaluation than standard X-rays.
CT technology is commonly used to examine the spine, nasal cavity, inner ear, bones/joints, chest/lungs, lymph nodes, thyroid gland, abdominal organs, skull/brain, and vascular structures. CT scans provide your veterinarian with a comprehensive image of your pet's bony and soft tissue structures, helping diagnose and treat various health issues.
Positron Emission Tomography - PET Scans for Dogs & Cats
CT scans with contrast agents help veterinarians identify increased blood flow in your pet's body, while PET scans provide a detailed view of your pet's tissue and organ function.
This information can aid in detecting and monitoring cancer and areas of inflammation. Similar to how PET scans are used in human medicine, they are a valuable tool for diagnosing and managing various health conditions in pets.
CT & PET Scan Process
CT and PET scans require your pet to be completely still, therefore they are typically performed while your pet is under general anesthesia. Your pet's vital signs are closely monitored during the procedure to ensure their safety. The scan itself takes only a short time and the images are then interpreted by a specialist and a report with findings and recommendations is sent to your pet's treating veterinarian.
MRI - Veterinary Magnetic Resonance Imaging for Dogs & Cats
Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) is a diagnostic tool that has been widely used in human medicine since the 1980s and is becoming increasingly available for pets.
MRI scans provide high-resolution images of your pet's soft tissues such as the brain, spinal cord, ligaments, tendons, and abdominal organs, making it a valuable tool for diagnosing conditions such as limping, lameness, seizures, joint pain, neck pain, back pain, or paralysis.
The procedure takes 45 minutes to an hour and requires your pet to remain still, so a general anesthetic is usually administered. Before the MRI, your veterinarian may recommend blood tests and X-rays to ensure your pet is healthy enough for the procedure.
Diagnostic Imaging at Animal Hospital of Redondo Beach
Our board-certified specialists and emergency vets offer advanced diagnostic services including CT scans and ultrasounds to accurately diagnose your pet's health issues. Contact us to learn more about the advanced veterinary care and diagnostic imaging available at our Los Angeles County.
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.