X-ray images ('radiographs') have been used for many years now, and most people know that they can show some of the internal parts of the body.
The principles of X-rays
X-rays pass through different materials to different degrees. The denser the material, the less X-rays pass through. X-rays cause black and white photographic film to react in a similar way to light or a special film records the x-ray digitally. Radiographs are taken by passing x-ray beams through the part of the body being examined. Since fewer x-rays pass through hard tissues (for example bone) than soft tissues (such as skin and muscle) an image is produced on the photographic film.
The density of different soft tissues varies very slightly, and much information about internal organs can be obtained from radiographs, as well as diagnosing broken bones.
Radiography at the Heath Veterinary Group
We use a digital system which gives much better pictures and uses less xrays so is safer.
The x-ray equipment we have is very high-powered, enabling very good quality pictures to be taken. We are able to take radiographs of all sizes of creature from the smallest hamster to the largest Great Dane. Many veterinary practices manage with cheap low-powered machines which cope adequately with average-sized pets but struggle with large dogs and more sophisticated techniques. We have recently upgraded to a digital system which gives quicker results, better images and uses less x-rays so is safer.
Taking radiographs is quite safe and painless for the patient - no different to having a photo taken. However, it is essential that the patient lies still during the procedure, so sedation or general anaesthesia is usually needed, depending on what part is being x-rayed.
Apart from broken bones, radiographs are used to give information about heart disease, tumours, spinal conditions, coughing problems, intestinal problems and many others. Radiography can give information about almost all organ systems.
Results of radiographic examinations are usually available the same day. Occasionally, we may recommend an expert opinion to help with a diagnosis; we have good working relationships with several specialists.
We regularly take x-rays for the Official Hip Dysplasia Scheme.
We have two -xray machines - a large one for most x-rays, and a smaller one specifically for dental x-rays.