Diagnostic tools give your vet crucial insights into your pet's internal condition. They are essential for maintaining the health of your dog or cat. Our vets in Mooresville will now outline the key diagnostic tests for dogs and cats.
Radiography - X-Rays for Dogs & Cats
X-rays are crucial in veterinary healthcare, serving as one of the most helpful and frequently utilized tools. They enable your vet to examine your pet's bones, tissues, and internal organs, facilitating the diagnosis of issues like broken bones, bladder stones, and swallowed foreign objects. Additionally, X-ray images aid in identifying tumors, pregnancy, and enlarged organs, leading to diagnoses such as heart disease or cancer.
For a detailed view of your pet's organs, tissues, or ligaments, other diagnostic imaging techniques like MRI and Ultrasound prove more beneficial than X-rays.
X-rays, including digital X-rays, are painless, non-invasive, and considered highly safe for dogs and cats. The use of very low doses of radiation, particularly in digital X-rays, minimizes exposure. Even for pregnant dogs, the low level of radiation required for radiography is safe. While sedation may be necessary to obtain a clear image in some cases, calm and comfortable pets may not require it. Sedation becomes necessary when pets are unsettled, anxious, or experiencing pain during the X-ray procedure.
Ultrasound Imaging for Pets
Cats and dogs, our cherished companions, often explore forbidden territories or encounter health issues like cysts or tumors requiring treatment. Enter ultrasounds, a cutting-edge imaging technology that directs sound waves into your pet's body, creating a detailed image of a specific organ. Veterinary ultrasounds, being non-invasive, serve to diagnose internal organ issues or monitor your pet's pregnancy.
Our vets employ ultrasounds to scrutinize your pet's organ structure, enabling the detection of blockages, tumors, or other concerns.
Different body areas demand specific preparations for your pet's ultrasound. Consult your vet for guidance on preparing your pet. It may involve withholding food and water for 8 to 12 hours, especially for abdominal ultrasounds. For optimal examination of the urinary bladder, your cat or dog must refrain from urinating for approximately 3 to 6 hours before the ultrasound.
To ensure clear images, the examination area may need to be shaved. While most pets cooperate during the ultrasound, some may require sedation.
PET/CT Scan for Pets
Computed Tomography - CT Scans for Dogs & Cats
The CT machine generates high-resolution images, enabling your veterinary team to assess your pet's anatomy thoroughly. Unlike standard X-rays, these images provide unparalleled detail. Your vet can obtain outstanding visuals of your dog or cat's bony and soft tissue structures using CT scanners.
This technology is commonly applied to capture images of the spine, nasal cavity, inner ear, bones/joints, and the chest/lungs. The CT machine is also instrumental in evaluating lymph nodes, the thyroid gland, abdominal organs, the skull/brain, and vascular structures.
Positron Emission Tomography - PET Scans for Dogs & Cats
An intravenously contrast agent (IV) enhances a CT scan, enabling vets to observe heightened blood flow in your pet's body. PET scans detect cancer and areas of inflammation, providing a detailed view of the functioning of tissues and organs in humans. Primarily employed for cancer detection and monitoring, PET scans are valuable tools for doctors.
CT & PET Scan Process
CT and PET require that the animal stay completely still. For this reason, your vet will perform these diagnostic imaging tests while your pet is under general anesthesia. Your pet's vital signs are closely monitored while under anesthesia throughout the entire CT/PET process. In most cases, a CT/PET scan only takes a short time. Once the scan is complete, a specialist will typically interpret the images, and a detailed report with findings and diagnostic recommendations will be sent to the vet handling your pet's treatment.
MRI - Veterinary Magnetic Resonance Imaging for Dogs & Cats
Since the early 1980s, Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) has played a crucial role in diagnosing human health concerns. Recently, veterinary MRIs have gained widespread use.
Your vet can utilize MRI scans to obtain high-resolution, detailed images of your pet's soft tissues, including the brain, spinal cord, ligaments, tendons, and abdominal organs. In cases of soft tissue injuries or diseases, veterinary MRIs offer a more detailed view of your pet's body compared to other diagnostic imaging tools like X-rays or CT scans.
If your dog or cat displays symptoms such as limping, lameness, seizures, joint pain, neck pain, back pain, or paralysis, your vet might recommend an MRI to diagnose the underlying cause.
Performing a dog or cat MRI takes 45 minutes to an hour. To ensure a successful MRI, the patient must remain absolutely still. For this reason, a general anesthetic is administered to your pet before the MRI scan. Vets typically advise blood tests and X-rays before the MRI to confirm your pet is strong enough for general anesthesia.
Diagnostic Imaging at Lake Norman at Mooresville Animal Hospital
Our Mooresville vets are pleased to provide veterinary diagnostic tests, including ECG/EKG, ultrasound, and digital X-rays. These diagnostic tools allow us to provide you with an accurate diagnosis of your pets' medical issues. Contact us to learn more about veterinary care and diagnostic imaging at Lake Norman at Mooresville Animal Hospital.
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.