Radiographs, more commonly known as X-rays, are an amazing innovation of modern medicine. The doctors at Carriage Hills Animal Hospital rely on them to screen, diagnose, and treat conditions of all kinds on a daily basis. Pet X-rays are an essential part of good pet care, and we couldn’t function without them.
What’s in an X-Ray?
Before you can appreciate the versatility and usefulness of radiographs, you need to first understand what an X-ray actually is.
Radiographs utilize gamma rays to recreate a two dimensional image of a body part on a film or computer screen. Using X-rays, we can visualize your pet’s bones and organs in the chest and abdominal cavities.
When you look at a radiograph, mineralized objects (such as bone) appear bright while gas and air are black. Most soft tissues, including the internal organs, are seen as various shades of gray.
Radiographs help us determine the general size, shape, and location of many organs and bones within the body. This can be helpful in diagnosing many different pet issues.
Pet X-Rays as a Tool
When treating our pet patients, it’s important to obtain an accurate diagnosis as quickly as possible. It’s also key for us to identify problems early on to ensure the best possible outcomes. Fortunately, pet X-rays allow us to accomplish all of these things.
Pet X-rays can also be used as a screening tool for wellness care. This means we may order radiographs without any obvious sign of a problem. We often recommend this for pets who are predisposed to certain diseases or for older pets (we suggest screenings every six months for geriatric pets).
X-rays allow us to identify asymptomatic diseases, including:
- Heart enlargement
- Masses within the chest or abdominal cavity
- Urinary tract stones
- Abnormal fluid accumulation
- Orthopedic abnormalities such as hip dysplasia
Other times, radiographs are used as a diagnostic tool. We look at the overall health and function of the heart and lungs, the integrity of various bones, and the abdominal organs. We may recommend a chest film to investigate a cough, an X-ray to evaluate the nature of a broken bone, or an abdominal radiograph to look for evidence of a foreign body obstruction. Knowing what we’re treating helps ensure the best outcome for your pet.
In other situations, X-rays help us monitor our patients. We can assess responses to drugs for congestive heart failure, oversee healing of fractured bones, or confirm that an unwanted object has passed through the digestive tract.
The staff at Carriage Hills Animal Hospital knows how important your pets are to you and your family, and pet X-rays are invaluable to helping us treat and protect your four-legged companion. Please call us today with any questions or concerns.