Our Diagnostic Imaging (Radiology) Unit consists of five vets and two radiographers (and four office dogs) and provides imaging services for all of the other disciplines.
The team members perform radiography, ultrasonography, fluoroscopy, MRI and CT scans on several thousand dogs and cats each year and also interpret images sent in by vets in general practice.
Imaging using radiography and ultrasonography is the mainstay of many patient investigations in the clinic.
Radiography is performed with the dog or cat conscious, sedated or anaesthetised, depending on the nature of the study and the animal’s temperament.
Fluoroscopy is a moving X-ray study used mainly for breathing and swallowing studies. We have two fluoroscopy machines with the second one being used in the operating theatre during certain types of surgery.
Ultrasonography shows the architecture of internal organs and permits guided sampling of internal lesions in a minimally-invasive way for the patient.
The first MRI scanner at the AHT was installed in 1992, and was the first in Europe dedicated to scanning dogs and cats. In 2000 the original scanner was replaced by a much larger and more powerful system. This permitted more sophisticated scanning to be performed using shorter scan times and led to a large increase in caseload. In 2018 this scanner was replaced with the latest version, following a successful fundraising appeal.
A collaborative study with dermatology investigating the use of MRI for managing chronic ear disease in dogs was recently accepted for publication and is typical of the sort of cross-discipline, clinical research which is carried out in the clinic.
A CT scanner was installed in the Cancer Centre in 2013 and complements the other imaging techniques. CT images are very thin cross-sectional X-rays and are especially useful for imaging bones and lung. The high-quality images can be reconstructed in different ways to give 3D information. CT and MRI are complementary techniques and depending on the nature of the condition under investigation one or other technique is used: sometimes both.
CT is also used for precise planning of radiotherapy studies and in MRI and CT images can be fused to give maximum information for this purpose.
The diagnostic imaging team works closely with their colleagues in the other disciplines, and patient investigations are very much a team effort.
In addition, numerous imaging specialists have been trained at the AHT over the years: currently there are two imaging residents (registrars) and one intern who are studying for their specialist qualifications.
The unit has also contributed greatly to veterinary knowledge through clinical research, lectures and papers on the subject of veterinary diagnostic imaging.
Our team are available 24/7 with a radiologist on call at all times to offer advise, support and services