Diagnostic Imaging for Your Dog or Cat

At our veterinary center in O’Fallon, we utilize advanced diagnostic imaging techniques to diagnose and treat your pet's illnepet's injury accurately. The specific imaging test used will depend on your pet's individual condition. Here are some of the tests that our veterinarians may suggest for your beloved dog or cat.

Radiography - X-Rays for Dogs & Cats

As a veterinary healthcare tool, X-rays are incredibly helpful and frequently used. They allow vets to diagnose a variety of problems, such as broken bones, bladder stones, and swallowed foreign objects by offering a view of your pet's bones, tissues, and internal organs. X-ray images can even help vets detect tumors, pregnancy, and enlarged organs, which may lead to a diagnosis of heart disease or cancer.

While X-rays are a safe and painless diagnostic option for dogs and cats, they do not provide a detailed view of organs, tissues, or ligaments. In such cases, MRI or ultrasound may be more beneficial.

Digital X-rays, in particular, use only very low doses of radiation, making them safe even for pregnant dogs. Sedation may be required to obtain a clear image, but if your pet is calm and comfortable, it may not be necessary. However, if your pet is anxious, unsettled, or in pain, sedation may be required.

Ultrasound Imaging for Pets

As pet owners, we may come across health issues that our furry companions may experience, such as cysts, tumors, or accidental ingestion of harmful substances. In such situations, veterinary ultrasounds can play a crucial role in diagnosing and evaluating internal organ problems, as well as monitoring pregnancy. These ultrasounds work by transmitting sound waves into the pet's body, producing a clear 'picture' of the specific body part in question. Our experienced vets use this non-invasive technology to examine the structure of your pet's organs and detect any blockages, tumors, or other problems that may be present.

However, it's important to note that different types of ultrasounds require specific preparation procedures. Therefore, it's essential to consult with your vet to determine how to prepare your pet for their ultrasound. For example, withholding food and water for 8 to 12 hours may be necessary, especially for abdominal ultrasounds. Additionally, pets should not urinate for about 3 to 6 hours before the ultrasound for optimal urinary bladder examination. In some cases, the area to be examined may need to be shaved for clearer images. Although most pets remain still and cooperative during the procedure, some may require sedation. In case of any queries or concerns about your pet's ultrasound, feel free to discuss them with your vet.

PET/CT Scan for Pets

Computed Tomography - CT Scans for Dogs & Cats

Your veterinary team utilizes CT technology to capture high-resolution images that offer exceptional detail of your pet's anatomy. Unlike standard X-rays, CT scanners provide your vet with a comprehensive view of both bony and soft tissue structures. This technology is particularly useful in generating images of the spine, nasal cavity, inner ear, bones/joints, chest/lungs, lymph nodes, thyroid gland, abdominal organs, skull/brain, and vascular structures.

Positron Emission Tomography - PET Scans for Dogs & Cats

Vets can utilize a combination of a CT scan and a contrast agent administered to your pet via IV to observe areas of heightened blood flow in your animal's body. PET scans are helpful in identifying cancer and areas of inflammation. For humans, PET scans provide doctors with a comprehensive understanding of the inner workings of the patient's tissues and organs. The primary use of PET scans is for cancer detection and monitoring.

CT & PET Scan Process

During CT and PET imaging tests, it is crucial for the animal to remain completely still. To ensure this, your veterinarian will administer general anesthesia to your pet. Throughout the entire CT/PET process, your pet's vital signs will be closely monitored while under anesthesia. Typically, the scan only takes a short amount of time. After completion, a specialist will interpret the images and provide a detailed report with findings and diagnostic recommendations to your treating veterinarian.

MRI - Veterinary Magnetic Resonance Imaging for Dogs & Cats

Since the 1980s, Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) has been a valuable diagnostic tool for human health concerns. More recently, veterinary MRIs have become increasingly popular. These scans offer high-resolution and detailed images of your pet's soft tissues, which includes their brain, spinal cord, ligaments, tendons, and abdominal organs. Veterinary MRIs can provide more detailed images of soft tissue injuries or diseases compared to other imaging tools like X-rays or CT scans. 

If your dog or cat is experiencing symptoms such as limping, seizures, joint pain, neck pain, back pain, or paralysis, your vet may recommend an MRI to help diagnose the root cause. During the MRI, which typically lasts between 45 minutes to an hour, it's crucial that your pet remains completely still. To ensure a successful scan, your pet will be given a general anesthetic prior to the procedure. Vets may also recommend blood tests and X-rays beforehand to confirm your pet is healthy enough to undergo general anesthetic.

Diagnostic Imaging at Gentle Doctor Animal Hospital

Our O’Fallon vets are pleased to provide advanced veterinary diagnostics with digital X-rays. This diagnostic tool allows us to provide you with an accurate diagnosis of your pets' medical issues. Contact us to learn more about the advanced veterinary care and diagnostic imaging at Gentle Doctor 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.

If your dog or cat needs an X-ray contact Gentle Doctor Animal Hospital. Our vets take pride in helping to restore the good health of O’Fallon pets.