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Diagnostic imaging is a tool we use when we want to try to see into the body without having to surgically go in and look. There are several tools we use including X-rays, Ultrasound and Endoscopy.
X-rays are the most common type of diagnostic imaging tool used. X-rays show the bones very well and some soft tissue problems can be seen as well. In some cases we may need to see if something is in the stomach or intestines and we perform contrast radiographs. We force the pet to drink a barium solution (I say force because barium kind of tastes like chalk), then we take X-rays. The barium "lights-up" the stomach and intestinal track on the X-ray film and we can see if there is something there. The entire process is sped up with our digital X-ray processor which allows the X-rays to be read by the doctor within 30 seconds after taking the shot. With an uncomfortable dog on the X-ray table, speed is important. The digital X-rays are very clear and can be enlarged, contrast changed etc. for the doctor to better check out suspect areas.
Ultrasound is our newest diagnostic tool and is used when we need to see the soft tissue in more detail. With ultrasound, we can get good pictures of all the internal organs and their structures. From this we can tell if they look normal and infer if they are working properly. Ultrasound, can also be used to get a better look at soft tissue abnormalities that may show up on X-rays. In some instances, the ultrasound can be used to guide a needle to a tumor inside the body so a piece of tissue (biopsy) can be obtained and sent off for analysis without having to do surgery.
An endoscope is a means of checking out digestive tract problems and it consists of a long tube with a light source on the end and a means of looking at where the light is shining (this may be a camera or an optical lens). The tube is inserted into the rectum (for lower GI problems) or the mouth (for upper GI problems) and the lining of the intestines and stomach can be seen. Sometimes, when an animal has swallowed something they shouldn't have (socks, ball of string or who knows what) an endoscope allows us to retrieve these items without having to surgically go in to remove them. Endoscopes can also be used to go into the trachea and bronchi to investigate respiratory problems.
We currently refer clients for this service.
Kindness Animal Hospital is also equipped with an EKG machine which records the rhythms of the heart. With an EKG, we can detect certain abnormalities of the heart and, if necessary, a cardiologist can be consulted for further evaluation.