Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Digital Radiography

Digital Radiography for Horses
at the
Arthur Veterinary Clinic
Digital Radiography, otherwise known as DR, is very similar to a digital camera. It gives us the ability to have "instant x-rays". Just as a digital camera no longer uses film to capture pictures, DR no longer requires x-ray film. Instead, our DR unit uses a laptop computer to capture our x-ray image. This allows us to obtain clear, superior images in a matter of moments. We no longer have to develop the x-ray, instead we are able to view the x-ray instantly. With the x-ray displayed on the laptop screen, we have the ability to magnify and adjust the image, giving us greater detail and accuracy for our diagnosis and treatment.

Another advantage of the DR system is its compactability which allows us to obtain x-rays at a farm or stable instantaneously without making the trip back to the clinic to develop the x-rays.
This is a photograph of our DR unit. The yellow piece of equipment is the x-ray generator which emits the x-ray beam. The blue plate (connected to the generator) receives the x-ray and transmits the image to the laptop on the cart. The blue plate replaces the x-ray film.

In addition to improved quality and reduced processing time, DR allows us to store images on CDs or thumb drives and to share with colleagues either electronically by email or by posting on a secure website. Each evening, all x-rays taken are stored on a hard drive at the clinic and sent electronically for off site storage, back up and archiving. This off site storage allows for secure viewing of the x-rays via the internet.

This is a photograph of a digital radiograph being taken of a horse's cannon bone or front leg.

This is a photograph of the actual digital x-ray image as seen on the laptop.

Along with the DR unit, the Arthur Veterinary Clinic also has a digital ultrasound unit for use on horses, dogs and cats. Ultrasound is a great compliment to x-rays and allows us to obtain 3-D images of dog and cat abdomens, equine tendons and soft tissue swellings. Whether we are looking a bladder for possible stones or scanning the entire abdomen, ultrasound is a diagnostic test which we use frequently at the AVC. Just like DR, digital ultrasound lets us store images on a CD, thumb drive or email electronically.