Advanced diagnostics help our clinicians find answers utilizing tools you have come to expect as a gold standard of care in human medicine. MRI, Computed Tomography (CT Scan) and Diagnostic Ultrasounds are routinely used at CARES. We also employ a state of the art digital animal radiology system that allows our veterinarians to obtain the highest quality digital radiographs. Images are available on computer terminals throughout the hospital, which enables veterinarians to quickly and easily access all patient studies.
Procedures We Commonly Perform at CARES:
Digital Radiographs (X-Ray)
Digital radiographs can be used for evaluating the outlines (silhouettes) of soft tissue structures, as well as bones. We look at pet lungs for the cause of coughing, if they have heart problems or to rule out lung cancer. We take radiographs of bones to evaluate for breaks, sprains and strains or torn ligaments (like when the ACL of a knee is torn). When our patients are vomiting or uncomfortable, we look at the abdomen to see if organs are normally sized, or if there is foreign material in their intestines. Sometimes, we look for stones in the urinary bladder as well.
Ultrasound uses sound waves to comfortably look more in depth at the internal organs of the abdomen. We also use ultrasound to visualize structures in the chest or even the joints. Ultrasound allows us to see the architecture of organs and also helps safely guide tissue sampling (fine needle aspirates) and biopsies.
Ultrasound and radiographs work in tandem to help us gather as much information as we need. Sometimes we need both modalities to gather enough information to determine the cause of illness, or the extent of the problem.
At CARES, our MRI is yet another way to evaluate your pet in a non-invasive manner. MRI is used by the neurology department to look at the spines of animals that have slipped their discs. MRI can also look at the brains of animals that are having seizures. We also use MRI to look at abdomens and sometimes joints, as well as assess cancer in many locations in the body.
CT or cat scans are also an important service offered by our diagnostic imaging department. We have a 16-slice CT scanner, so we can obtain vivid, clear three-dimensional images of your pet. By having a multi-slice detector, we get images in seconds; this decreases the length of the study and significantly minimizes the time that your pet is sedated/ anesthetized. Also, the powerful software allows us to make three-dimensional reconstructions. With the CT we can see inside your pet with a kind of detail and dimension that is not possible with x-rays and ultrasound. Very small (millimeters) lesions or inconspicuous problems that are invisible on normal x-rays can be seen and evaluated. CT scans are commonly used to look deep inside the nose of a pet who may have discharge from their nasal passage to see if they have an infection, or possibly cancer. We look in depth at joints of animals that have been limping, in cases where x-rays have not deciphered the underlying cause or extent of the disease process. We also plan for a surgical approach with CT. So, if your pet needs surgery, the surgeons know what to expect and can develop a plan for how to fix your pet as quickly and comfortably as possible.