At Donnington Grove, the small animal radiography room contains a 125kV, 300mA x-ray machine, powerful enough for all small animal radiographic investigations.
The x-ray plates are processed digitally to create a high definition image which can be viewed on a computer, printed out or e-mailed to a specialist should another opinion be required.
Most radiographic examinations are carried out under sedation or general anaesthesia so the animals will stay in the correct position for the radiographs to be taken. The radiography room is equipped with an anaesthetic machine for this purpose.
Radiation Health and Safety
Radiation health and safety rules mean that clients cannot come into the radiography room while radiographs are being taken. Our staff are regularly monitored for exposure and wear special protective clothing if they must stay with the animal.
The small animal department carries out over 1000 radiographic investigations every year.
The x-ray machine produces images by firing high energy x-rays through the patient. Some are blocked by tissues and this creates the image, with bone and metal showing up white, soft-tissues are grey and air is black.
We can examine any area of the body with x-rays. Areas of bone and air are easiest to examine, but soft tissues are less distinct. We usually need to take more than one view to obtain the most information and the results can be combined with the use of ultrasound and other diagnostic techniques to gain a full picture of what is wrong.
Sometimes more can be learned from a radiographic study if contrast materials are administered. Contrast materials include barium and iodine based products which block x-rays and appear white, but we sometimes use air which lets through more x-rays and appears black.
BVA Hip and Elbow Scoring
We often take x-rays as a part of the British Veterinary Association (BVA) schemes to score hips and elbows for breeding dogs, which is attempting to reduce the incidence of hip dysplasia and elbow dysplasia in certain breeds.
To take part in this scheme your dog will need to be sedated and we will need the dog's Kennel Club number at the time of taking the radiographs. From January 2010, all dogs screen under the BVA Scheme must be identified with a microchip.
The radiographs we take for this scheme are sent to the BVA for scoring.