DO YOU SEE
WHAT I SEE?
Understand that test.
Do you ever wonder why your vet has to do all those x-rays and still cannot give you an answer? I know, it is frustrating for us too since we want to help you and give you an answer. Let's go through those basic imaging tests because what is true for our patients is true for you too.
Radiography, or x-ray, is really helpful and everyone has one but you can only see 5 opacities or brightness. The five basic radiographic densities: air, fat, water (soft tissue), bone, and metal. Air is the most radiolucent (blackest) and metal is the most radiopaque (whitest). This means that it is really hard to impossible to see some plastics, wood, cloth. So sometimes the veterinarian will do a barium series (see photo credit: dvm360.com) to help us determine if there is a blockage.
Other times we worry about joints or internal organs and will recommend a CT (Computed tomography scan) or even more specialized MRI (magnetic resonance imaging). MRI is best used for looking at the brain or spinal cord since these cannot be seen on radiographs. Both of these are more specialized and usually only referral clinics have these machines. Using some or sometimes multiple tests like these are what is needed to make sure our fur kids get the help they need.