One of the most common and useful medical diagnostic procedures is radiography or X-rays. They allow our doctors to view areas of the body that have contrasting tissue densities and when viewing solid tissues.
Some common areas in which radiographic imaging may be useful in determining a diagnosis and provide insight on effective treatment at TDVG include:
Lungs and Chest
In the chest, the lungs are primarily filled with air and have a very soft density, thus absorb very few X-rays. The heart muscle is denser, while the bony ribs are hard and extremely dense. The heart silhouette is easily seen on an X-ray, and large blood vessels can be seen within the lungs since the blood and arterial and venous walls are denser than the surrounding lungs. If fluid accumulates in the lungs (pulmonary edema), it is also readily seen.
In the abdomen, many organs can be distinguished and foreign bodies or air trapped within the intestines may often be observed. The size and shape of the liver, kidneys, and spleen are often assessed on radiographs. In animals that are extremely obese or that have very little body fat, it can be more difficult to distinguish the various internal organs.
The bones of the spine and limbs are routinely X-rayed and many bone abnormalities can be readily detected. Joints can be challenging to analyze due to the similar soft tissue density of ligaments and tendons. Your veterinarian is most often looking for cavities or abnormal swelling within a joint or for abnormal positioning or orientation of bones.
Dental radiographs are an essential part of determining which teeth are healthy and whether certain teeth need to be extracted. Abnormalities beneath the gums that would otherwise go unnoticed, such as damage to the tooth roots, tumors, and abscesses can be seen on a dental radiograph.
For more information about radiographs, check out our pet health library!