Animal radiography is one of the most commonly used diagnostic tools when it comes to the treatment of pets.
Animal radiography relies on x-rays to create images which help us to diagnose potential problems with your pet.
What are X-Rays?
So what are x-rays? Well, x-rays are produced using a specialized vacuum tube. An electric current is applied to a cathode (negative electrode) releasing electrons into the x-ray tube which then
contact an anode (positive electrode) at high speed resulting in production of x-rays.radiography xrays
The x-ray beam passes through some tissues and will be blocked by others creating an image with bone and metal showing up white, soft tissues grey and air black.
We can adjust three ‘exposure factors’ to create an optimal image. These are the number of x-rays produced (the mA), the energy and consequent penetrating power of the x-rays (the KV) and the exposure time (which is the length of time that x-rays are being produced during each exposure with a greater number of x-rays produced with a longer exposure time).
Digital Animal Radiography
In recent years digital animal radiography has been developed and here at Calder Vets we have a digital x-ray system.
The advantage of this is superior image quality, faster production of images (particularly beneficial in an emergency situation), there is no longer a need for a dark room or chemicals (with an environmental benefit) and images can easily be transferred to other practices and to specialists for a second opinion if required.
The Animal Radiography Procedure
Animal radiography is a non invasive procedure that is not itself painful but sedation is often required to reduce anxiety and to control pain associated with manipulation of patients with painful conditions (such as fractures).
Care is also needed with regards to the safety of personnel who are involved in radiography. Over time exposure of personnel to radiation can increase the risk of cancer or other illness.
To minimise this risk a patient should not be restrained by a member of staff for the procedure so this is another reason why sedation is often required.
Other radiation safety precautions taken are the use of lead aprons and gloves, continual monitoring of each individual member of staff’s exposure to radiation and pregnant women are not allowed direct involvement in animal radiography.
This patient above with a fracture of the radius was anaesthetised to perform radiography so the leg could be positioned without causing the patient discomfort.
When taking radiographs of an area of interest we will usually take multiple views and will sometimes combine this with an ultrasound scan and other diagnostic tools.
We can also perform a more specialised technique of contrast radiography if required.
This involves either injection of a radiographic contrast agent into a vein to highlight blood vessels or the kidneys, administration of the contrast agent or air into the bladder to highlight the bladder or administration in the food to highlight the gastrointestinal tract.
The contrast agent appears white on the radiograph and air appears black helping to highlight specific structures.
Animal Radiography Services from Spinney Vets
Here at Calder Vets, our expert team provides radiography services for a range of different pets. We accept direct patients as well as referrals from other vets.
To contact us, find your local branch or call our 24 hour helpline on 01604 648221.