Frequently Asked Questions
Questions From Veterinarians
Q: Can ultrasound be used to detect portosystemic shunts?
A: In some cases ultrasound can be very helpful in detecting shunts. If there are significantly large intrahepatic or extrahepatic shunts present, these can often be detected with ultrasound using Doppler applications. However, detection is very user/patient dependent and if smaller shunts or microvascular disease is present, the pathology can be easily missed or not detectable. In these cases, other types of imaging such as nuclear scintigraphy is more useful.
Q: What is the best way to image extremities?
A: As CT is still a mode of radiography, imaging bony structures or areas of high contrast such as fractures or bony tumors are usually imaged in more detail with CT. The 3 dimensional aspect of the CT study also is helpful for surgical planning. However, if the problem is in the soft tissue structures of the musculoskeletal system such as tendons and ligaments, MRI may result in more detailed information with these structures as the contrast between soft tissue structures is greatly improved.
Q: What is the best way to image the nervous system?
A: CT can certainly offer more information that standard radiographs in the brain and spinal cord. Brain lesions/masses can be detected with the help of contrast media and spinal disease also lends itself to good imaging with CT. Very small lesions or vascular lesions within the nervous system are better imaged with MRI due to the increased resolution between soft tissue structures.
Questions From Clients
Q: My cat often overgrooms and is diagnosed with hairballs. Would ultrasound show this particular problem?
A: Ultrasound can be challenging in the gastrointestinal tract. If there is a significant blockage, imaging may show certain qualities such as dilation of the bowel, or even the cause of the obstruction (foreign material, tumor, etc.) One difficulty with imaging the intestinal tract is there is usually a fair amount of air present and the sound waves are reflected too strongly to image past the air interface. (This is also why it is important to fast your pet prior to an abdominal ultrasound.)
Q: Do I call to schedule an appointment?
A: We are a referral only imaging center. Therefore, we must receive a referral request form from your veterinarian. This will be required to determine the amount of time and time of day for scheduling based on the procedure requested. After reviewing the referral request, we will reach out to you for scheduling the appointment.
Q: How quickly will I get the results?
A: The final report is processed to your veterinarian typically within 24-48 hours.
Q: Does my pet have to be sedated?
A: For CT scans a pet must be completely still while the table is moving back and forth, so light anesthesia or very heavy sedation is required. Their vital readings are closely monitored during the entire process and they are usually ready to walk out in about an hour after anesthesia/sedation is discontinued. For ultrasound, typically we try not to sedate and most pets will tolerated gentle restraint during the exam. If your patient is very young or hyperactive/aggressive, it may be necessary for you to contact your regular veterinarian for a one-time oral sedative in order to obtain a complete exam.
Q: How long does the imaging take and can I wait onsite?
A: Typically an ultrasound or echocardiography will take approximately 20-30 minutes based on the patients attitude and ability to be still and quiet. CT on the other hand is a longer process due to the anesthesia/sedation/recovery and may take up to 2 hours. You are welcome to wait onsite or receive a pick up call at the end of the imaging.