Although some people may think it's just for humans, medical imaging can be used on dogs, as well. There are various reasons why your dog might need the services of a veterinary radiologist, whether it be to see the state of your pet's organs or to check to see if he or she is suffering from any cracked bones. Read on and discover a few medical imaging techniques that can be used on your dog and why they might be employed.
For an ultrasound, the radiologist uses a machine that sends sound waves throughout the body. These sound waves are then translated by the machine into an image of the innards of the body, which is displayed on a screen. Unfortunately, bones and gaseous organs like the lungs don't translate well to the ultrasound's display. One of the greatest benefits of an ultrasound is that your veterinarian and veterinary radiologist can view the images of your dog's organs in real time to see how they react to certain stimuli. Anesthetics are not employed due to the fact that the process will cause your dog no pain and very little in the way discomfort.
X-rays, like ultrasounds, are not particularly good at picking up the presence of gaseous organs, but they are fantastic at displaying your pet's bone structure. If you suspect that your pet is suffering from a broken bone, a veterinary radiologist will most likely use an x-ray to see if that's the case. The process works by sending radioactive rays into your dog's body, which are then photographed using a special apparatus. Similar to an ultrasound, this process will cause your dog no pain and little discomfort, and you can generally avoid the use of anesthetics.
CT scans employ the same technology that x-rays do, but in a more advanced fashion. CT scans are usually used to see if your dog has suffered from any head trauma. They are also employed to get a closer look at dogs with malformed bones. A CT scan requires that your dog be sent through a large "donut"-like device which will use x-rays to provide veterinarians with a 3D scan of your dog's head. This requires your dog to lie very still during the process and tends to make the animals quite anxious. As such, general anesthetic is almost always required during the process to facilitate the procedure.