Veterinary Internal Medicine Diagnostics and Treatments Performed by ACVS include:
- Abdominal Ultrasound -An abdominal ultrasound (also known as an abdominal sonogram) is a non-invasive procedure used by doctors to examine and evaluate internal organs without creating an incision. These ultrasounds can be used for a wide range of purposes, including assessing tumors, examining organs, observing heart functions and abdominal viscera. Often used in conjunction with x-rays for a more detailed assessment, the two allow us to gain a better understanding of the health of your pet without the need for invasive investigations. In doing so, we avoid the risks, pain and recovery associated with a surgical examination under anesthesia. These ultrasounds involve the use of specialized equipment with both operators and doctors with special training involved in the process
Frequently Asked Questions about Abdominal Ultrasounds:
Q. Is an ultrasound harmful to my pet?
A. An ultrasound is non-painful. The sound waves and radio frequency emitted by the ultrasound machine are extremely low. The procedure utilizes the same imaging technology used in human medicine for prenatal ultrasounds.
Q. What will my pet experience during the abdominal ultrasound process?
A. Routinely, your pet will not need to be sedated for the procedure. To get the best images possible, a patch of fur in the area being examined will need to be shaved. Non-toxic water soluble gel will then be applied to the ultrasound probe to enhance the quality of the images. This gel is harmless to your pet and will be removed once the procedure has been completed.
Q. How long does an abdominal ultrasound take?
A. The duration of the procedure may vary but it typically can take from 20-30 minutes.
- Anteriograde pyelocentesis
- Intravenous pyelogram – radiological procedure used to visualize abnormalities of the urinary system, including the bladder, kidneys, and ureters
- Arthrocentesis – the aspiration of fluid from a joint. A needle is inserted into the joint and fluid is removed. The purpose of arthrocentesis is to collect synovial fluid (plasma secreted by joint tissues) for analysis and/or culture. To perform the procedure, the skin over the joint(s) is clipped and sterilized. A needle attached to a syringe is inserted and directed towards the center of the joint. When the desired area has been reached in the joint cavity fluid is drawn into the syringe. Both the needle and syringe are then removed. The fluid obtained is applied to a slide for examination. Your pet may experience minimal discomfort as a result of insertion of the syringe. Most animals require mild sedation for the procedure
- Thoracocentesis – a surgical puncture of the pleural cavity via needle. The purpose of thoracentesis is to drain fluid or air from the pleural space. Removal of fluid or air should result in improvement of clinical signs such as labored or difficulty breathing, increased respiratory rate, exercise intolerance, loss of appetite or lethargy
- Abdominocentesis – The extraction and analysis of fluid from the abdominal cavity via needle. Clinical indications for performing an abdominocentesis include acute abdominal pain and unidentified cause of fever
- Pericardiocentesis – The removal of fluid via needle from the sac around the heart (pericardial sac). This procedure is performed as a result of excessive fluid build-up in the pericardial cavity, which is the space between the pericardium and the outer layers of the heart. This condition is known as pericardial effusion
- Blood and plasma transfusion – A blood transfusion may be required for animals that are anemic as a result of significant blood loss during surgery or due to an injury. Anemia may also be caused by blood disorders, tumors, or poisoning. Plasma transfusions increase clotting factors to allow blood to clot and prevent prolonged bleeding
- Bone marrow aspirate – Bone marrow is aspirated via a marrow aspiration needle. It is then smeared onto a microscope slide and evaluated cytologically
- Core bone marrow biopsy – A bony core of marrow material is collected using a specialized core biopsy needle and examined histopathologically
- C-Arm fluoroscopy – A non-invasive imaging modality that uses x-rays to produce a moving image. Fluoroscopy enables us to capture and manipulate video of a specific part of the body while it is in motion
- Contrast studies – for the diagnosis of gastrointestinal and urogenital disorders
- CT scan – CT scans provide better differentiation of soft tissue than conventional x-rays. A contrast dye can also be injected into the patient’s bloodstream to further increase the differentiation of tissue. The CT scan also does not superimpose the bone over the soft tissue, as it is only looking at one slice of the body at a time. CT scans are performed to help diagnose tumors and other diseases
- Digital Radiology
- Feeding tube placement – a feeding tube is placed into the stomach to provide nutritional support for patients that are not eating enough to maintain their health and recovery. Feeding tubes are typically considered for patients with diseases of the mouth, head, megaesophagus, esophageal stricture, chronic kidney disease and liver disease
- Interventional radiology – Interventional radiology involves the use of fluoroscopy, ultrasound, CT, MRI and endoscopy to guide biopsies, fluid drainage, catheter insertion, pacemaker placement and vessel or valve dilation and stenting. These procedures are minimally invasive and less painful for patients
- Ultrasound guided biopsies – With a guided biopsy, an ultrasound can guide the doctor to affected areas, allowing them to extract tissue without the need for invasive surgery. By avoiding unnecessary surgeries, incisions, anesthesia and expense, you greatly reduce your patient’s pain, need for recovery, and risk of infection
- Fine needle aspirates – In a fine-needle guided aspiration, small cell samples are collected from the patient, allowing for testing of suspicious cells, growths, parasites or fungi, without the need for surgery. With our guided aspiration, we are able to use sonogram technology to carefully guide the doctor to the suspicious area, helping him or her collect the target cells without the need for an invasive procedure
- Urohydropropulsion – To perform urohydropropulsion, the pet is anesthetized and a urinary catheter is placed. Through the catheter the bladder is filled with sterile saline. The pet is then held in an upright position and the treating doctor compresses the bladder forcing the solution back out along with the stones. This procedure is performed when the bladder stones are very small and are sure to pass through the urethra
- Video upper GI endoscopy – to diagnose foreign bodies, inflammation, inflammatory bowel disease, ulcers, tumors, and strictures of the upper gastrointestinal tract
- Foreign body retrieval – Dogs and cats on occasion can ingest something that should not be ingested and may become lodged in the stomach requiring foreign body retrieval. Symptoms of gastrointestinal obstruction include vomiting, abdominal pain, and depression due to dehydration. Foreign bodies in the stomach can be removed by endoscopic retrieval, gastrotomy or enterotomy
- Laparoscopy – used to examine the abdominal cavity to evaluate patients with liver, biliary, pancreatic, and adrenal, kidney or intestinal disease
- Cystoscopy – used to examine the urethra and bladder to evaluate patients with recurrent or persistent urinary tract infections; kidney, ureteral or bladder stones; urinary incontinence; or bladder masses
- Bronchoscopy – used to examine the interior surface of the trachea and bronchi to evaluate patients with acute or chronic cough. This procedure can help our doctors to obtain tissue brushings and biopsies for histological evaluation as well as for removal of foreign bodies
- Rhinoscopy – used to examine the nasal cavity to diagnose inflammation, foreign bodies, tumors, and fungal infections in your pet
- Colonoscopy – used to examine the large intestines to evaluate patients with weight loss or diarrhea. This procedure can help our doctors to diagnose inflammation, inflammatory bowel disease, ulcers, tumors, and fungal infections in your pet