At Ellerslie Vet Clinic we recently updated our digital CR (Computed Radiography) Xray System into a DR (Digital Radiography) System. We are the third clinic in New Zealand having this specific system installed. Our new DR Xray system is world class for image quality, speed of processing and ease of use. Within seconds we have our high-quality images and are very happy that we can reduce the exam times for our patients.
Over the years we have performed diagnostic imaging of thousands of dogs, cats, rabbits, and guinea pigs and the odd bird. As veterinary care has advanced, so has the technology that helps us getting a faster and better picture of how to help your four-legged family member.
Two important tools for diagnosing sick and injured pets (and humans!) are Xray and ultrasound imaging. Xrays use electromagnetic radiation to showcase imaging of the pet’s body structure and highlight objects within. Ultrasound uses sound waves to produce images of your pet’s interior systems.
What health issues can be seen and diagnosed with ultrasound? Ultrasonography is used to visualize mainly soft tissues in pets, such as those involving the gastrointestinal tract, the liver and kidneys or the heart.
Aside from fractures, what can be seen and diagnosed with Xrays? Xray is commonly used to visualize bones, joints and the spine or skull, but it can also reveal lung abnormalities, congestive heart failure, and foreign bodies.
So, which one is ‘better’?
Often there is a good reason to use both Xray and ultrasound to narrow down differentials on a diagnosis of your pet’s health issue. For example, if it seems that a pet ingested a foreign object, then an Xray would likely be done first. But should that Xray also show the silhouette of an enlarged spleen, an ultrasound would be used to get a more detailed view of the spleen.
By the way, this is something we’re frequently asked: Reading veterinary Xrays does require some training and experience; it’s something that most veterinarians are comfortable doing. The more often a vet works with Xrays, the more experience! There is also always the option to share and discuss radiographs with colleagues.
However, to read ultrasound studies, vets do need special additional training. At Ellerslie Vet Clinic we are very happy to find in Dr Kathrin Brinker an advanced ultrasonographer with over 25 years’ experience. She started ultrasonographic imaging after her graduation as a vet and developed her skills throughout her PhD followed by her six years specialist training (this title is not acknowledged in NZ) with some well-known ultrasonographer’s in Germany, Austria and the US.
We are very lucky and happy to offer both diagnostic tools to our furry patients and their parents