November is National Senior Pet Month! We love our pets no matter their age, but especially as they start to enter their golden years, we want to make sure they’re as healthy as they can be. Just like humans, as pets age, they often need more frequent visits to the veterinarian for routine care, as well as for any age-related illnesses they may experience. Early diagnosis is important for achieving the best outcomes and helping our senior pets live their best life – and one way we can get accurate diagnoses is to use imaging.
Diagnostic imaging allows veterinarians to see inside your pet without the risk and trauma of an invasive procedure, and it can get us answers quickly. It’s a critical step in reaching the correct diagnosis and extremely helpful in tracking the progress of various conditions and treatments.
Here at Guardian Veterinary Specialists, we offer the most advanced imaging services available in veterinary medicine today, so we can quickly and accurately get a complete picture of your pet’s needs.
The advanced diagnostic imaging capabilities we can use to help pets of all ages, including seniors, include:
Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI): Guardian is one of the very few veterinary hospitals in the region that offers onsite MRI. MRI produces highly detailed pictures of your pet’s heart and other organs, soft tissue, and bone, and is considered the “gold standard” for imaging neurological structures such as the brain and spinal cord. MRI is the most advanced imaging technique in veterinary medicine and the only tool that can provide an accurate diagnosis for some diseases.
Digital X-ray: This is likely one you’re most familiar with, and for good reason: it’s the most common imaging service. X-ray is used most frequently for looking at an animal’s chest area when they are having difficulty breathing, have suffered trauma, are coughing, or have a heart murmur, but is also very helpful for looking at other areas of the body like extremities.
Computed Tomography (CT): A CT scan is an X-ray technique that allows veterinarians to see internal structures in “slices,” instead of the static two-dimensional images you are likely familiar with on an X-ray. CT scans can help veterinarians evaluate bone tumors and fractures, locate tumor margins, assess internal injuries, guide surgery and radiation therapy, and detect and monitor cancer and other anomalies.
Fluoroscopy: Fluoroscopy is also an X-ray technique, but one that shows continual, real-time, moving images (think X-ray movie) and is very useful in diagnosing diseases of the heart, lungs, and stomach. It’s often used for pets experiencing difficulty swallowing or breathing.
Ultrasound: Ultrasound uses sound waves to see inside the body. It doesn’t use any radiation and is useful for imaging abdominal organs, muscles and ligaments, blood vessels, and the heart, as well as for confirming and evaluating pregnancy. Guardian Veterinary Services offers mobile ultrasound services in addition to in-house, so local referring veterinarians can request ultrasound imaging be done at their facilities.
For some of these diagnostic procedures, we need to sedate your pet to ensure they remain completely still for us to get a clear picture.
If you have questions about our imaging services or any of our other specialties, feel free to contact us at (914) 704-3400.