Diagnostic Services

Pet X-raysDigital Radiology

Radiographs are one of the most important diagnostic tools in veterinary medicine. They allow us to view the shape, size and location of organs inside your pet's body. Radiographs are extremely helpful for diagnosing and monitoring many medical and surgical conditions. X-rays are useful for examining your pet's bones, lungs, heart, abdomen, oral cavity and other areas of the body. An x-ray can detect a fractured bone, tumor, heart problem and locate an obstruction or foreign body in your pet's stomach or intestine.

With the availability of digital radiography, x-rays have become far more powerful and useful than ever before. This means that we can quickly take highly detailed radiographs, manipulate them to gain a better view of your pet's bones and internal organs, and then display them on a computer for you to see.

The veterinarians at Animal Medical Center are able to diagnose a very wide range of medical conditions with more speed and accuracy than before. Because we believe that pet owners throughout Hillsborough County area deserve the best possible care, we have invested in a state-of-the-art, high-quality digital veterinary x-ray machine.

The Advantages of Digital Radiology

For an additional fee, digital x-rays can be saved to a disk and given to you as part of your pet's home medical record. Images can be quickly shared via email to specialists when a second opinion or additional diagnosis is needed. Your pet's time on the X-ray table is reduced because fewer images need to be taken. Digital X-rays eliminate the need to use toxic chemicals in the film development process, decreasing the risk of exposure to our staff and the environment.

Ultrasounds for Dogs and CatsUltrasound

Ultrasound is a pain-free, totally non-invasive technique that uses high-frequency sound waves to produce a real-time image of your pet's internal organs. Often considered more exact than radiographs (X-rays), ultrasound provides a movie of what is happening inside your pet's body. There is no known health risk associated with its use.

Ultrasound is particularly useful in viewing your pet's abdominal organs and evaluating heart functions. Abdominal ultrasound allows us to fully examine your pet's liver, gallbladder, spleen, adrenal glands, pancreas, kidneys, urinary bladder, and parts of the stomach and intestines. Ultrasound also works well in conjunction with other diagnostic tools and a wide range of diagnostic procedures. For example, a radiograph of your pet's abdomen may show enlargement of the liver but does not tell us why it is enlarged. An ultrasound allows us to see the liver's structure in greater detail and identify specific lesions or masses.

Using the ultrasound image as a guide, Animal Medical Center veterinarians can obtain biopsies without major surgery and your pet can often go home the same day.

Ultrasounds are typically not stressful for your pet and take anywhere from 30 to 60 minutes to perform.

Endoscopy

Endoscopy means "looking inside" and refers to looking inside the body for medical purposes. The instrument used for this procedure is called an endoscope. Endoscopy is a minimally invasive, diagnostic, medical procedure commonly used to evaluate the interior surfaces of an organ by inserting a small tube into the body. Through the endoscope, the observer is able to see lesions of organs and other internal medical conditions.

In veterinary medicine, endoscopy is commonly used as a diagnostic procedure, for tissue and organ biopsies, to remove foreign objects (particularly in the stomach) or get an inside view of a particular part of a pet's body. Even though anesthesia is required to keep an animal still during the endoscopic procedure, the amount of anesthesia and recovery time is minimal. Endoscopy is often indicated when routine blood and urine tests, radiographs and ultrasound do not give the complete diagnostic picture.

The endoscope is composed of a long tube (flexible or rigid), a light source, camera and viewing eyepiece. In addition to the fiber optic light source, there are two channels within the tube. One channel is for passing forceps, snares or biopsy instruments, allowing for the removal of foreign objects, collection of biopsy samples and removal of small polyps or tumors. Air or water can be passed through the other channel for better viewing of the tissue or organ.

Unique Benefits

The benefits of endoscopy over exploratory surgery include no surgical incision, shortened anesthetic time, decreased inflammation, less physiologic stress and discomfort and an earlier return to normal function.

The endoscope is used to help diagnose and treat a variety of gastrointestinal and respiratory disorders. Depending on the symptoms, it is used to look at the inner lining of the throat, stomach, intestine, colon or the respiratory passages (nose, throat and lungs). Endoscopy is used to obtain superficial biopsies of stomach, proximal small intestine and colon, to look for cancer of the esophagus or stomach and to remove small foreign bodies from larger airways, esophagus or stomach. Even though general anesthesia is required for an endoscopic procedure, it is still considered much less invasive than traditional surgery due to the relatively short procedure time and low occurrence of complications.

Laboratory ServicesAnimal Medical Center's Laboratory

Performing preventative medicine as well as diagnosing emergent internal health issues requires the ability to perform a wide range of laboratory tests on blood, urine, feces, and biopsied tissue. Without timely access to precise laboratory test results - blood testing, biopsies, microscopic examinations, bacterial culture sensitivity, and more - it is difficult to make an accurate diagnosis or assessment of your pet's health.

Animal Medical Center offers complete laboratory testing services for your pet. In many cases, our sophisticated instruments and diagnostic capabilities provide us with test results within minutes.

Laboratory testing allows our veterinarians to obtain additional information to assess your pet's overall systemic health without the need for invasive and expensive procedures. This is why we maintain an advanced in-house laboratory and regularly perform tests during your pet's wellness exams or when we suspect your pet may have a health issue.

For example, diagnostic testing can detect heartworm disease, Lyme disease, infections, feline leukemia, intestinal parasites, urinary tract infections, and many additional diseases and conditions that can go unnoticed in their early stages. Early blood testing can show evidence of disease such as diabetes, changes in liver or kidney function, or simply provide a baseline for future reference. Diagnostic testing is also included in pre-anesthetic screenings prior to dental or surgical procedures that require general anesthesia. Annual wellness blood and urine tests, along with other diagnostics, assist us in the early detection of diseases and health conditions.