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Owner

A C

Pet Name

Sammy

Case Notes

You brought Sammy to be evaluated by the Internal Medicine Service today because you were concerned about his cough. Today, we performed tests that have helped us narrow down the possible causes of Sammy’s cough. Some of the results of these tests are still pending, and we do not want to initiate specific therapy until we have these results. However, in the meantime, we are starting to treat Sammy’s cough with a cough suppressant. Give the medication as described above and watch for signs of sedation. Please call us if you feel this medication does not improve his cough or if he appears overly sedate. We will call you with the results of the pending tests once they are in hand. We have booked Sammy in for a series of chest radiographs next Tuesday. He will need to be sedated for this procedure. Details of this procedure are below. Please ensure he has fasted from 10 pm on Monday night.

Reason for admission and estimate

Give cough suppressant as per label. We will call you with the results of the pending tests. Radiographs under sedation booked for Tuesday next week. Please arrive at 8:30 am.

What to expect with medical imaging?

Your pet has been booked in for a medical imaging procedure. Medical imaging is a low-risk way and non-invasive use of diagnostic tools to gain insight into your pet’s health. By looking at medical images, veterinarians can make quick and accurate diagnoses in order to treat your pet as soon as possible.

There are 4 types of medical imaging used to help diagnose an illness or injury. 

1. Radiography

2. Ultrasound

3. CT or MRI scans

Radiography

Radiographs, also known as x-rays, are the most common form of medical imaging used. Taking a radiograph involves exposing your pet to a beam of x-rays and taking a picture. They are particularly useful for diagnosing fractures, arthritis, chest problems. The amount of radiation your pet is exposed to during radiography is minimal and harmless.

Ultrasound

Ultrasound is a form of medical imaging that uses sound waves to form an image and is the second most common form of medical imaging. When an ultrasound examination is performed, a harmless, high-frequency sound beam is projected into the body of your pet. Ultrasound examinations can be used in addition to radiography. They are useful in detecting abdominal diseases and are often able to provide a diagnosis when radiographs cannot.

CT and MRI Scan

CT scans, also known as “CAT scans,â€Â are a special type of x-ray exam in which a series of x-ray images, or “slices,â€Â of your pet are obtained. CT scans are most useful when evaluating very complex parts of the body, such as the head, chest, and joints. MRIs, by contrast, use a magnetic field and radio waves, rather than x-rays, to make images. MRIs can detect changes in the body tissue by revealing increases in water and fluids due to inflammation or bleeding. MRIs are most useful in veterinary medicine to detect brain conditions, such as strokes and spinal cord abnormalities, like herniated disks.

What to expect with sedation or general anesthesia

Overview

For the wriggly, anxious, or aggressive pet, an injectable sedative is recommended to be able to perform a procedure without further harming the pet or the handlers. Sedation can be recommended for procedures such as x-ray, grooming, nail clip, examination. Sedation allows a pet to relax to a point where they are not fully aware of their surroundings and have no control of their muscles. Whereas, general anesthesia is the complete loss of consciousness and is required for procedures e.g. surgery, dentistry.

Injectable sedatives are fast-acting and can sometimes be reversed. Commonly used drugs include acepromazine, butorphanol, diazepam, telazol, dexmedetomidine, ketamine, or a combination of these drugs. The sedative is selected based on the pet’s health, the problem that needs to be addressed, and the level of sedation required. 

General anesthesia is always needed for a CT or MRI scan as your pet is required to remain still while the images are being processed.

Night before procedure

Day of procedure

Sedation is taken just as seriously as general anesthesia, where the pet is monitored throughout and after the procedure.

Your pet will be able to go home when it is fully awake. This is usually on the same day and you will be notified when your pet is ready.

FAQs

Does medical imaging always provide the final diagnosis?

The goal of medical imaging is to help determine a diagnosis. For example, radiographs may reveal a fracture. However, in many cases, the medical imaging results are combined with other test results to determine the diagnosis.

When will I get the results?

The results should be available on the same day of the procedure. In more complicated cases, the imaging may be reviewed in conjunction with other veterinarians and specialists and this may take longer.