Our on site state-of-the-art digital radiology equipment provides high quality x-rays to help our veterinarians evaluate muscular-skeletal, cardiovascular, pulmonary, gastrointestinal, reproductive, and urinary systems.
A radiograph, commonly called an x-ray, is a black and white two-dimensional image of the interior of the body. An image is generated by passing radiation through a particular area or structure, such as the chest or a limb, and the image is then captured. With digital x-rays, the images are captured on a digital recording device and displayed on a computer. These images are easy to store as well as to transmit to other hospitals, or to copy to send home with pet owners. Radiography is the most common and readily available imaging test in veterinary medicine. It is used to evaluate the size and shape of organs such as the heart and lungs, as well as to demonstrate fractures (broken bones), some foreign objects, fluid accumulations and many more abnormalities that may aid in diagnosis.
At Larchmont Animal Clinic, we have a board certified ultrasonographer who comes to our practice once a week to perform and analyze ultrasounds. Unlike radiographs, no radiation is used in an ultrasound. An ultrasound uses sound waves. The ultrasound waves move out from the wand and either become absorbed into organs, pass through them, or are reflected (echo) back. Depending on how many sound waves are absorbed or reflected, an image of the internal organs is formed that can be seen on a monitor.
Ultrasound is painless and does not require anesthesia or even sedation in most cases. For an ultrasound evaluation to be done, the pet needs to have the hair shaved from the area to be evaluated, as hair will interfere with the images.
This test is typically done after blood tests, x-rays, or a physical examination indicates a possible problem. It is useful for evaluating things like abdominal organs, eyes, and the reproductive system. As with people, it can be used during pregnancies. There is a specific ultrasound called an echocardiogram that is used to visualize the heart and blood vessels as well as the valves of the heart.
Ultrasound can "see" some things that can't be visualized on radiographs. For example, if the abdomen is filled with fluid, the organs can't be distinguished on traditional x-rays because fluid and tissue have the same density. However, the appear quite different from each other on an ultrasound image, so we can see through the fluid.
It is a good complementary type of imaging to use with x-rays. It is common to do both x-rays and ultrasound in order to get a complete picture of what is going on with a patient.