X-rays are a great innovation in medicine – a way to see inside what could not be seen before!
They are limited, though, by their lack of ability to distinguish between different types of soft tissue. For example, piece of liver and a liver tumour look just the same on x-ray, so unless the tumour sticks out in a nice visible bulge, an x-ray can not see that it is there.
Ultrasound imaging lets us see all sorts of detail that x-rays can not:
- Identifying tumours in tissue
- Determining if the consistency of an organ’s tissue is altered from normal, as by scarring or inflammation.
- Seeing abnormal material inside organs, like pus inside a kidney, or fine bladder sediment.
Ultrasound also offers the chance to see organs working in real time. This is especially valuable in looking at a heart:
- Seeing not just how thick the heart walls are, but how well they move when the heart beats.
- Seeing whether heart valves leak or turn inside out when the heart contracts.
- Seeing the actual direction of blood flow (Doppler analysis). This means we can visualize, and measure, any backwards flow of blood through a bad valve; and, that a hole in the heart wall can be identified by watching the blood flowing through it.
We are pleased to consult with a mobile Veterinary Ultrasonographer who brings not only his ultrasound machine but his valuable internal medicine experience to our patients.