Radiology

Category: Services

We have a well-equipped radiology suite which enables us to produce good quality radiographs over a wide range of patients, from a small kitten or pup, to the largest of the dog breeds.
Digital radiography no longer requires a dark room and allows better sharing of xrays.


The many advantages of using digital or film-less radiography

Our staff no longer have to work with potentially hazardous chemicals.  All our xray chemicals were disposed of by specialised services but we are happy to be no longer contributing to this environmental burden.

This means that often fewer images are required to achieve a radiographic diagnosis.

Storing xrays can take up a lot of space. We have literally thousands of xray films. All these need to be filed and labelled carefully so we can find them again in the future. Digital radiography files and stores the images on a dedicated machine leaving very little chance of losing or misfiling.

We are now able to make copies of the radiographs on disc for our clients to take with them for referral. See the "Can I have my pets xrays?" page to view our policy on generating copies for our pet owners.


Who takes xrays at Boronia Veterinary Clinic & Hospital?

All of our veterinarians are qualified to take and interpret radiographs. However, one of our veterinarians, Dr Ana Hayes, has post-graduate qualifications in radiology, and maintains a special interest in the area of diagnostic imaging.
Patients with chronic, non-urgent conditions requiring radiographic assessment can be booked in specifically for Dr Ana Hayes to take and interpret the radiographs. Ana is also available to offer an opinion, if required, on radiographs taken by our other veterinarians. A consultation is required prior to booking for xrays during which time the vet will advise you when Ana is next rostered in Radiology. 


What happens to my pet when it is booked in for xrays?

Most of our patients are booked in and admitted into the day hospital when xrays are needed as part of a diagnostic plan.

We ask that you bring your pet in unfed on the morning of admission, as it will most likely be sedated, to make it calm and relaxed, and in many cases a general anaesthetic may be required.
Please bring your printed estimation with you. You will receive another copy at admission.

Once the xrays have been performed you will receive a call from the veterinarian who performed them, to discuss the diagnosis and treatment plan, or any further diagnostic tests that may be required.

It is critically important that we have a contact phone number for you for the day, as no decisions regarding treatment for your pet can be made without consulting you.

As there are often several patients requiring xrays on the day, we will usually work through all the patients first, before contacting owners, so that they are all recovering from the effects of sedation or anaesthesia as soon as possible. This way, we can keep to a minimum the hospitalisation time required for all our patients. Communication with owners may not be until early afternoon. Patients who are having procedures such as surgery after their xrays will be given priority, so that the Surgery or Medical teams can take over as soon as possible. 


Can I wait until the xrays are taken?

No. Effective restraint and careful positioning is required to produce a good quality, diagnostic radiograph.  Unlike radiographers in the medical field, we cannot ask our patients for their cooperation in holding their breath, or lying still on their back while we take the image.
Understandably, most of our patients are anxious and frightened while being positioned and held during a radiographic procedure, and they may struggle and panic. To minimise the stress to the patient, and to allow us to take a diagnostic radiograph with the minimum amount of handling and restraint, we sedate most of our patients. 
This process takes some time- time for the sedative to have effect, time for the patient to recover from the effects of the sedative, and so it may be several hours before the patient is ready to go home.
If you are anxious about leaving your pet with us, rest assured that your pet will be calm and relaxed after sedation, and our aim is always to discharge our patients as soon as it is practically possible. It is much better for you to busy yourself with other tasks for the day, rather than experience a long and anxious wait in a veterinary waiting room.


Can I stay with my pet and hold it while it is being xrayed?

No. Some people believe that their pet will be less anxious if they stay with it and reassure it. However, you can’t explain to your pet in words that the procedure will be painless and over quickly.

Your pet will still be in an unfamiliar environment and will still be positioned and restrained in an unfamiliar way. Most pets will struggle more if their owner is present as they seek to be rescued from the frightening situation by their owner.

We are also legally bound to adhere to a strict policy of minimising radiation exposure. That means keeping the number of people in the radiology section to an absolute minimum whilst imaging is occurring. 

 


 

Why does my pet need a general anaesthetic?

In most circumstances, we can achieve a good quality radiograph just with sedation. However, there are some parts of the body which can only be xrayed effectively under general anaesthetic. These are the skull/nose, the spine, and the hips. These parts require specific positioning and a degree of muscle relaxation which can only be achieved under general anaesthetic.
Also, in the case of a large and/or aggressive dog, it is much safer for all concerned if the patient is anaesthetised, rather than wrestle with a physically strong and uncooperative patient.
Of course, if there is a significant risk in anaesthetising a patient due to their clinical condition, an attempt will made to xray the patient without a general anaesthetic. It must be understood that this may result in a poor quality image, which may limit our ability to interpret it effectively and make a diagnosis.


Can I have my pet’s xrays?

Legally, the radiographic images we produce belong to us, and we are required to store them for seven years. When we were using film, this meant we could not give the xrays to our patients’ owners, unless this was required for the purposes of referral. Now that we are using digital technology, we are able to make a copy of them for a small fee on request.

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How does digital or computed radiography work?

Most people are familiar with how traditional radiography works. Xrays are passed through a patient and hit a xray plate or cassette which is sitting on the other side of the body part being imaged. Inside the cassette is a thin film, that will store different shades of grey depending on how many xrays were blocked and how many passed through the body part.
With our setup, we still produce our images using a cassette, but instead of containing a sheet of film, this cassette now has a digital sensor which creates the image.
After we have taken the xray,  we insert this cassette into an image reader, which functions much the same as a computer scanner. A computer image is then produced by a computer. In our clinic the image is sent to a special computer called a PACS.
Finally, in a different room in the hospital, we retrieve the images across the network and view the radiographs on high quality computer monitors.