The staff of boarded veterinary radiologists, technologists and technicians of the Diagnostic Imaging Service is an important part of University of Florida’s Veterinary Hospital (UFVH) patient care team. The service uses state-of-the-art imaging equipment to assist clinicians in diagnosis and treatment of our patients and provide important follow-up examinations to monitor response to therapy.
Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI)
The UF Veterinary Hospitals have state-of-the-art magnetic resonance imaging capabilities with a recent upgrade to a Toshiba Titan 1.5 T unit.
MRI uses a strong magnetic field and the natural resonance of atoms in the body to create images of the structure of organs with exquisite contrast resolution. MRI, primarily used to examine the internal organs for abnormalities, is noninvasive and is superior to other modalities for imaging soft tissues.
Imaging studies peformed include:
- Central Nervous System (Brain and Spinal cord)
- Musculoskeletal Injuries
- Orthopedic Exams
- Soft Tissue Injury (Ligaments, Tendons)
- Vascular Disease
- Vascular Obstructions
- Congenital Anomalies
- Evaluation and Characterization of Tumor Type
- Metastatic Evaluations
Computed Tomography (CT)
Computed Tomography or CT is another important part of our diagnostic imaging arsenal. The UF Veterinary Hospitals have a state-of-the-art Aquilion Toshiba 160-slice multidetector-row CT scanner with the capability of scanning small animal and large animals, using a specially designed table. Due to their large size, our large animal patient studies are limited to the skull and lower extremities.
CT uses x-rays to create a cross-sectional image of all tissue types of the body region scanned. This is achieved by imaging thin slices of the patient, similar to slicing a loaf of bread. This form of imaging, tomography, provides the radiologist much more information about the patient than conventional radiography by eliminating the superimposition of structures that often complicates interpretation of radiographic studies.
Common applications include:
- Fracture Evaluation
- Angular Limb Deformities
- Disc Disease/Spinal Cord Compression
- Metastatic Evaluation
- Tumor Characterization
- Vascular Studies
Nuclear Scintigraphy uses radioactive labels called radionuclides that are linked to an active marker for a specific physiologic process in the body. This combination is called a radiopharmaceutical, and is injected into the patient. The physiologic marker delivers the radioactive label to an area of interest to the clinician. Employing a special detector called a gamma camera, the gamma rays emitted from the radionuclide are counted, and can be related to organ function.
Common applications include:
- Glomerular Filtration Rate (GFR)
- Shunt detection
- Infection localization
- Liver function
- Bone metabolism (Lameness, metastases)
- Thyroid function
- Mucociliary function
- Cardiac function
Ultrasound (US) is an additional cross-sectional diagnostic imaging tool allows for the evaluation of organs without the superimposition inherent in radiography. Sound waves are emitted from a transducer and travel through organs and tissues, generating echoes that are detected by the equipment and then are converted to gray scale images. Using Doppler techniques, blood flow through vessels, organs, and diseased tissues can be evaluated. Ultrasound also allows for targeted sampling of small amounts of body cavity fluid as well as fine-needle aspirates and biopsies of abnormal organs and tissues.
Radiography and US are complementary imaging modalities. While radiography provides limited information about the internal architecture of abdominal organs, it provides invaluable information about the entire abdominal cavity, including bones and areas such as the pelvic canal that cannot be adequately evaluated with US. It is important that these imaging modalities are used in conjunction with one another to provide the best possible diagnostic accuracy and patient care.
Digital Radiography (DR)
In 2004 the service made a landmark upgrade from traditional radiography, utilizing film and chemical processing, to computed radiography (CR). Using the same X-ray equipment already in place, CR uses a cassette system with an imaging plate that contains photostimulable (light stimulated) storage phosphors. These phosphors detect and store energy from the x-rays that strike the cassette. These images are processed and stored digitally, eliminating chemical processing and film.
In 2010, the Diagnostic Imaging service added digital radiography to the arsenal of imaging technology available at the UF Veterinary Hospitals. Images obtained with this technology are processed within seconds, yielding high quality diagnostic images with decreased radiation exposure and increased efficiency.
Additionally, the images are created and stored using a medical imaging standard (Digital Imaging and Communications in Medicine or DICOM) that provides secure files which can be viewed by all DICOM compliant software.