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Advanced Imaging

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Advanced Imaging
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Advanced Imaging
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Echocardiogram

What is echocardiography?

Echocardiography is the use of ultrasound to view the structure and function of the heart in real time. This provides information about the size, shape, and function of the heart, its four chambers, the heart valves, and the surrounding structures, such as the pericardial sac. Ultrasound is a non-invasive and safe diagnostic test in both human and veterinary medicine.

An echocardiography is a little bit different from a general ultrasound because it requires additional knowledge and training to perform, is more technically difficult, and sometimes requires specialised equipment, such as cardiac transducers (ultrasound probes). 

In addition to assessing for obvious abnormalities (e.g., masses in and around the heart, fluid in the pericardial sac), measurements of individual heart wall thickness, chamber size, and blood flow are taken. Calculations are done to see how well the heart is functioning based on these measurements. 

How is echocardiography performed?

Echocardiograms are typically done with the pet lying on an ultrasound table. The ultrasound probe is held against the skin overlying the heart. Fur traps air which does not conduct sound waves very well, so it is usually shaven over the area of the heart. The pet’s skin is also moistened with alcohol prior to the procedure. 

Echocardiograms are typically painless and often done in a quiet, dark room. Most pets are able to lie comfortably with minimal restraint and sedation is usually not required. 


Computed tomography (CT)

A computerised tomography (CT) scan combines a series of X-ray images taken from different angles around the body and uses computer processing to create cross-sectional images (slices) of the bones, blood vessels, and soft tissues inside the body. CT scan images provide more detailed information than simple X-rays do. 

A CT scan for pets is useful for a number of different conditions including, but not limited to:

  • Physical trauma or injury
  • Various cancers and tumours (and staging of these cancers)
  • Diseases of the nose and lungs
  • Brain or spinal conditions
  • Middle and inner ear disorders
  • Evaluation of thoracic cavity including the lungs, airways, and heart
  • Planning and guiding other procedures such as surgery

Unlike human patients, you cannot tell a pet to remain perfectly still while a CT scan is ongoing. Even slight movements reduce image quality as it might produce distortions. For this reason, animals usually need to undergo sedation or general anaesthesia to produce good quality images for a more accurate diagnosis. Sometimes a contrast dye may be given intravenously to accentuate soft tissues and blood vessels.


Fluoroscopy 

Fluoroscopy is an imaging technique that uses X-rays to obtain real-time moving images of the interior of the body. A fluoroscope allows the veterinarian to evaluate the structure and function of the internal organs of the patient, for diagnosis and therapeutic intervention.

Fluoroscopy is used in our clinic for a range of procedures such as a myelogram, interventional radiology, and minimally invasive fracture stabilisation. 


Endoscopy

An endoscope is a flexible tube with a viewing port and/or a video camera attachment. It can be inserted into hollow organs like the oesophagus and stomach through the mouth, or the colon via the rectum. The endoscope permits inspection of the inside of these organs, and tissue samples can be taken with special attachments inserted into the scope. General anaesthesia is required during the endoscopic procedure for animals.

Other organs that can be inspected with the endoscope include the bladder, the respiratory tract (nasal cavity, trachea, and bronchi), and parts of the reproductive tract. 

Some of the common uses of the endoscope in veterinary practice include:

  • Retrieval and removal of foreign objects in the oesophagus or stomach (such as toys, bones, or large fruit seeds) that were ingested by the pet.
  • Identifying abnormalities such as inflammation, abnormal swelling, masses, or areas of scarring or stricture (abnormal narrowing) in the organ being inspected.
  • Looking for nasal tumours or polyps in cats with signs of chronic upper respiratory tract disease.
  • Minimally-invasive biopsy of the inner lining of the stomach and intestines in cases of chronic vomiting or diarrhoea. 

In order to rule out other diseases or conditions, your pet will usually undergo some routine tests prior to an endoscopy procedure taking place. These tests can include a full blood test, a urine sample, a faecal examination, radiographs, and an ultrasound.

Endoscopy in dogs and cats is usually a day procedure. Patients can be discharged on the same day, barring any post-procedural complications, or if they are being concurrently managed in hospital for an ongoing illness. 

Generally, an endoscopy procedure in dogs and cats is safe, but as with any medical procedure, there are some potential risks and complications which will vary depending on the individual animal and will be discussed by your veterinarian.

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Clinics offering this service
Clinics offering this service
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