An ultrasound is a machine that operates by sending sound waves out through a hand-held probe or transducer. These sound waves go across the area the probe is applied to and these waves return back to the probe to create an image on the screen. The image will show a picture in shades of gray, white, and black, depending upon the density of the tissue that is being imaged. Based on the veterinarian’s experience, they can then compare the image they are seeing to a normal image and give feedback about their findings.
Endoscopy utilizes a flexible, fiber optic instrument to examine the stomach, small intestines, and colon. The endoscope is 1.1 meters long, 1.0 cm wide, and has a channel through which biopsies can be obtained. There are two small light sources at the end of the scope that measure about 3 mm in width that allow visualization of the internal intestinal lumen. The endoscope can get small 3-4 mm biopsies of the stomach, small intestines, and the colon.
Endoscopy is a non-invasive method by which to get biopsies of the GI tract. The gastrointestinal tract is five layers thick when examined under a microscope. The endoscope forceps can only biopsy the first two of these five layers. Endoscopy is limited if the disease is present in the three layers of the wall that the endoscopic forceps cannot reach.
With endoscopy there are no incisions to heal; thus, therapy can be started when results are back without waiting for incision lines to heal before starting some medications. With endoscopy there is only minor gas discomfort that passes within eight hours and there is no pain or healing as occurs with surgery.
During endoscopy, the patient is under general anesthesia with analgesics, intravenous fluids, continuous blood pressure, EKG, and oxygenation monitoring performed by nationally and state accredited Licensed Veterinary Technicians.
A cystoscopy is a scoping of the urinary bladder. This procedure is performed using a small 1.2-2.1 cm rigid fiber optic scope. The urinary bladder is filled with sterile saline and distended so the scope can enter. Upon entry into the urinary bladder, the bladder wall can be seen. The entrance of ureters (lines from the kidney to the bladder) can also be seen during this examination. The bladder wall can be examined for masses, polyps, plaques, or the presence of free-floating stones. Based on the veterinarian’s discretion, biopsies and cultures can be collected.
Cystoscopy is performed under general anesthesia with analgesics, intravenous fluids, continuous blood pressure, EKG, and oxygenation monitoring performed by nationally and state accredited Licensed Veterinary Technicians.
A Laparoscopy is a procedure in which two trocars and a tiny insufflations needle are inserted into a patient’s abdomen. The insufflations needle is used to introduce air (carbon dioxide) into the abdomen to distend it and allow viewing of the abdominal organs. One trocar holds a camera in it to be able to visualize inside the abdomen. The second trocar holds the biopsy instrument used to collect biopsy samples within the abdominal cavity. The camera allows visualization of the liver, spleen, gallbladder, stomach, and diaphragm.
Biopsies can be taken of an organ based on the veterinarian’s discretion. Most often this technique is used to biopsy the liver.
Laparoscopy is performed under general anesthesia with analgesics, intravenous fluids, continuous blood pressure, EKG, and oxygenation monitoring performed by nationally and state accredited Licensed Veterinary Technicians.
Laparoscopy is a less invasive method by which to obtain a biopsy. There are only three tiny 0.5 cm incision sites through which the scopes are inserted. These sites heal quickly; thus the procedure is not as invasive as an abdominal surgery.
A bronchoscopy is a scoping of the lungs. This procedure is performed using a sterile, fiberoptic scope with a diameter of 0.5 cm with a biopsy channel and small 0.2cm light source. A bronchoscope is used to examine all seven lung lobes for masses, foreign bodies, polyps, or other abnormalities. Depending on which lung lobe is selected, the doctor will then “wash” the lungs with sterile saline and then suction the wash fluid back to obtain cells for cytology and a sample for culture.
Since this is an upper airway procedure there are risks involved, just as with any anesthetic procedure, and your doctor will discuss these risks with you beforehand.
Bronchoscopy is performed under general anesthesia with analgesics, intravenous fluids, continuous blood pressure, EKG, and oxygenation monitoring performed by nationally and state accredited Licensed Veterinary Technicians.
A rhinoscopy is a “scoping of the nasal cavity.” The nasal cavity is comprised of many scroll-like bones called turbinates that function like a maze within the nasal cavities of both dogs and cats. Careful examination of the nasal cavity is done with a small, rigid, fiber optic scope that shows an image on the video monitor while the doctor is examining the nasal cavities.
Rhinoscopy is done to look for tumors, fungus, foreign bodies, structural abnormalities, or other abnormalities. During the rhinoscopy, biopsies and possibly cultures are taken for further diagnosis.
Rhinoscopy is performed under general anesthesia with analgesics, intravenous fluids, EKG, blood pressure, and oxygenation monitoring performed by nationally and state accredited Licensed Veterinary Technicians.
An aspirate is very low risk, non-invasive technique by which cells from an area are collected or aspirated by using a syringe and a small needle. The collection of these cells is done via ultrasound guidance to reduce the risk of bleeding. By collecting these cells, they can be put on a microscope slide and reviewed for further diagnosis. If the sample is of good quality, it can then be sent out for review by a board certified veterinary pathologist for a more definitive diagnosis.
Aspirates can be done on the liver, spleen, GI masses, lymph nodes, skin nodules, or other structures. Sometimes, an aspirate does not yield enough cells to be read and a more invasive procedure called a biopsy is needed.
A biopsy is a term to describe the collection of tissues for review by a veterinary pathologist. A biopsy can be collected via endoscopy, rhinoscopy, cystoscopy, laparoscopy, with a tru-cut needle or a punch biopsy of the skin. Biopsies are superior to aspirates because the amount of tissue present for the pathologist to review is much larger.
Although the biopsy specimen is larger, it does not come without risks. Risks inherent with biopsy procedures are bleeding or infection. Your doctor will discuss the risks of any procedures that are recommended and every measure of care will be taken to prevent bleeding or other complications.
A biopsy can be performed on the liver, spleen, a GI mass, lymph nodes, or other structures.
Digital radiology may represent the greatest technological advancement in medical imaging over the last decade. The use of radiographic films in x-ray imaging might become obsolete in a few years. An appropriate analogy that is easy to understand is the replacement of typical film cameras with digital cameras. Images can be immediately acquired, deleted, modified, and subsequently sent to a network of computers.
The benefits from digital radiology are enormous. It can make a radiological facility or department filmless. The referring physician can view the requested image on a desktop or a personal computer and often report in just a few minutes after the examination was performed. The images are no longer held in a single location; but can be seen simultaneously by physicians who are in separate locations. In addition, the patient can have the x-ray images on a compact disk to take to another physician or hospital.