Diagnostic imaging is the noninvasive method of making medical images of the body to diagnose diseases.
All of our imaging facilities are fully digital. This allows us to show images to our clients in the consulting rooms, view the images in the operating theatre or access them from elsewhere in the clinic to allow case discussion with colleagues.
Ultrasound if one of our most commonly used imaging methods, it can be show images in real time and can be a way of obtaining biopsies from organs without the need for major surgery. It allows us to see inside and behind the eye of some of our ocular patients, inside the abdomen (and occasionally the chest) of some of our medical and soft tissue patients and even into the muscles/ tendons of some of our orthopaedic patients.
In domestic pets we can use endoscopy to have a look within the gut, starting either at the stomach (gastroscopy) to check for tumours, ulcers, to retrieve foreign bodies, or to visualise the large intestine. Endoscopy can also be used to take samples from within the gut without having to undergo a major operation.
Visualisation of the upper respiratory tract can also be undertaken with smaller scopes.
Ultrasound has a wide range of uses when looking at the soft tissues in the body; we can diagnose pregnancy, investigate problems within the abdomen as well as obtain biopsies with ultrasonography.
Ultrasound is very safe in all animals and can normally be conducted in the conscious animal.
At Oakham we can offer echocardiography (the use of ultrasound to visualise and measure the heart); this is a great help in diagnosing and monitoring dogs with heart disease. Included in this service we also have a visiting specialist in cardiology who is available to see some of our patients on an outpatient basis.
MRI - magnetic resonance imaging
MRI is currently not available for Small Animals.
We use digital radiography to assess a wide range of diseases. It is best for looking at bone problems, but is used extensively to check for problems within the chest and abdomen as well.
We can also perform contrast radiographic studies for looking at gastrointestinal or urogenital disease.
The benefit of digital radiography is the speed in which the radiograph is visible to the vet; this has a huge benefit as it reduces the time your pet is under anaesthetic.
Most patients will have to be either sedated or under a full general anaesthetic in order to get the best radiographs of the area of interest. Only in very sick dogs or emergency situations do we not use some form of sedation.