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Exploring Veterinary Radiography for Dogs & Cats

Advancements in technology have led to many improved diagnostic capabilities, including digital imaging. Here, our Los Angeles vets talk about how veterinary radiography helps with the diagnosis and treatment of health conditions in pets and the benefits of digital X-rays for cats and dogs.

Veterinary Radiography for Cats & Dogs

Radiography refers to the use of electromagnetic radiation to produce an image. X-rays produce energy that is absorbed by many hard materials or mineralized tissues in the body such as bones and teeth, making them appear white in the radiograph images.

To perform an X-ray, your vet will use the machine to direct a beam of photons at the target area on your pet's body. A digital sensor (or film cassette for traditional X-rays) will be placed behind your pet to catch any X-rays that aren't absorbed by bones or tissue, creating the image that we see.

For example, if your cat or dog has an injured leg, radiography can be used to obtain an image displaying the damage. The X-rays will be absorbed by the bones while soft tissues will only partially absorb them. This will result in an image where the bones appear white, the soft tissue are shades of grey and all other space will remain black.

Dental Radiographs for Veterinary Care

Dental radiographs (X-rays) performed in a veterinary diagnostic laboratory can help to diagnose and monitor several different dental conditions that would otherwise go unnoticed due to being below the surface of the teeth or gums. These X-rays are high-resolution images that help to show the tooth pulp, roots, crown, and surrounding bone of each of your pet's teeth.

Some of the issues that can be spotted using this dental technology include tooth abscesses, cavities, and fractures. Many pets are notorious for not showing any signs of pain or discomfort and will continue to eat and function normally even if they are experiencing pain. Once diagnosed using dental X-rays, your pet can be treated using other procedures and technologies as well as medications through our vet lab.

This type of radiograph is used in the same way that the ones for humans are used. These X-ray machines use a small amount of radiation to create an image of your pet's internal structures.

One difference between digital dental radiographs for pets and those for humans is the fact that your pet will need to be sedated to successfully capture an X-ray. Your pet will be generally safe when under general anesthesia and their vitals will be monitored throughout the entirety of their visit. Bloodwork will be required before the anesthetic is administered to your cat or dog to ensure the health and safety of your pet.

The Benefits of Digital Advancements in Veterinary Radiography

With veterinarians exploring new ways of using technology, veterinary digital radiography has quickly become the standard. These digital X-rays offer several benefits including:

  • Enhanced image quality: Digital X-rays offer better image quality along with the ability to manipulate the images.
  • Lesser radiation exposure: There is less exposure to radiation with digital radiographs due to the use of a digital detector for capturing images.
  • Reduced space requirement: Digital X-ray machines take up less compared to their traditional counterparts. With the images being digital, there is also no need for physical film storage.
  • Faster processing time: The images produced can be viewed immediately allowing for faster diagnosis and treatment planning.

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.

Do have more questions about X-rays or any other technology offered at our animal hospital? Contact our veterinary team in Los Angeles today to request a consultation.

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