Diagnostic Imaging

Radiography

Radiography (x-ray) - Our in-house radiography equipment and software utilizes advanced digital technology that allows us to see an image within seconds of taking the radiograph. The digital technology means less radiation is needed and the images are very detailed.​​ Our veterinary assistants and technicians are trained to use the proper techniques when taking radiographs so that our experienced veterinarians can then interpret them. It is important to us that our clients have answers as quickly as possible about the health of their pets.

What Can Traditional Radiographs Help Diagnose?
  • Lungs - pneumonia, metastatic tumors

  • Heart -  heart-based tumors, canine dilated cardiomyopathy, congenital heart diseases, and congestive heart failure

  • Abdomen - enlargement of liver, spleen, kidney, or stomach; splenic abscess or rupture; gastric dilatation and volvulus (bloat); intestinal obstruction; megacolon; linear foreign body; perineal hernia; pregnancy; ruptured bladder; and cystic calculi (bladder stones).

  • Bones - Density changes that may indicate cancer, breaks, fractures

  • Other conditions like megaesophagus, collapsing trachea, many types of different hernias, 

Dental Radiographs:
  • Dental radiographs are one of the most important diagnostic tools available to a veterinary dentist. They allow a detailed examination of the internal anatomy of the teeth, tooth roots, and the bone that surrounds the roots.

  • Dental x-rays help diagnose many conditions that may otherwise go undiagnosed. For example, dental x-rays can help the doctor discover fractured or broken roots, cysts, tooth resorption, early tumors, or unerupted teeth. They also help clinicians examine teeth that appear healthy but may be compromised on the inside. Periodontal disease can be staged and addressed by examining the dental x-rays for bone loss around tooth roots.

  • The radiation risk to the patient from taking dental radiographs is minimal. Butler Creek Animal Hospital uses digital radiography, which requires less exposure when compared to standard film x-rays. Compared to the traditional skull x-rays, intraoral x-rays provide superior quality for examination of individual teeth or sections of the jaws. Because veterinary patients will not cooperate when a digital sensor is placed in the mouth, taking dental x-rays requires that the patient is anesthetized or sedated.

Ultrasound

​Ultrasound is another non-invasive diagnostic. Many problems that cannot be diagnosed by radiology can be picked up in an ultrasound. It is useful in imaging the heart (we can actually watch how effectively it beats) and organs in the abdomen (such as the liver, spleen, and bladder). Since ultrasounds are moving, real-time images, they are better than X-rays for diagnosing certain conditions.​

  • Abdomen Ultrasound: Whole abdomen ultrasound is pretty in-depth. 

    • We evaluate the urinary tract. Urinary bladder. Look for stones, abnormal thicknesses of the bladder wall, growths. 

    • Prostate in males. Looking for evidence of swelling, infection or tumor.

    • Kidneys and ureters. Looking for stones, cysts, abnormal tissue.

    • Adrenal glands. Evaluating these helps us in working up Cushing's disease, and there are occasional tumors that occur in the adrenal glands.

    • Spleen. Common spot for tumors in some breeds and can be a good organ to get needle samples from to check for certain types of infections

    • Stomach and small intestines. Looking for evidence of inflammation like we would see with inflammatory bowel disease, abnormal thickenings like we might see with certain tumors, increased fluid. 

    • Liver. We look for changes in the brightness, evidence of lumps or cysts, and the size. We also look at the gall bladder for stones, mucous, or signs of infection.

    • Lymph nodes. There are numerous lymph nodes in the abdomen.

    • Other things we look for: fluid free in the abdomen, abnormal air patterns, growths that arise from areas other than the organs listed above.

  • Echocardiogram: Heart ultrasound

    • Most commonly used to determine the cause of a heart murmur. Also, by taking several measurements of the heart muscles we can determine the overall function and this is critically important in determining if a patient needs medication for its heart problem.

    • Commonly identified problems include mitral valve disease in dogs, dilated cardiomyopathy in dogs, and hypertrophic cardiomyopathy in cats.