Sun Valley Animal Center is equipped with state of the art Digital Radiography. This technology greatly enhances our ability to diagnose a wide spectrum of abnormalities, from orthopedic to soft tissue.
A myelogram is an animal x-ray test in which dye is injected directly into the spinal canal to help show places where disc material in the back may be pinching the spinal cord.
Our veterinary hospital also uses this procedure to help diagnose back and leg pain problems, especially if we anticipate the need for surgery.
Penn-HIP, owned and operated by the University of Pennsylvania, incorporates a method of evaluating the integrity of the canine hip, using multiple disciplines, including biomechanics, orthopedics, clinical medicine, radiology, epidemiology and population genetics. The purpose of the program is to direct appropriate breeding strategies aimed at reducing the frequency and severity of osteoarthritis and hip dysplasia in canines. The program was developed based on more than a decade of research and analysis, which has produced a body of information in support of Penn-HIP’s effectiveness. In addition, PennHIP involves a radiographic procedure that measures the dog’s “passive hip laxity”, or the degree of looseness of the hip ball in the hip socket when the dog’s muscles are completely relaxed.
Research has shown that the degree of a passive hip or joint laxity is an important factor in determining susceptibility to develop Degenerative Joint Disease (DJD) and Canine Hip Dysplasia (CHD) later in life. The laxity is objectively measured and includes a quantitative measurement in its report, as opposed to the traditional pass/fail framework. The PennHIP method can detect DJD and CHD in puppies as early as sixteen weeks, compared to the standard diagnostic method that evaluates dogs at two years or older. Based on the degree of laxity, the individual dog or puppy is then ranked relative to other members of the same breed. Dr. Randy Acker has found PennHIP to be extremely informative in his orthopedic cases and considers it to be a more thorough method for assessing breeding soundness.
Veterinary ultrasound imaging may also be called sonography or ultrasound scanning. Through this form of radiology, images from inside your pet’s body are obtained through the use of high-frequency sound waves. These reflected soundwave echos are recorded and displayed as a real-time visual image. Many of your pet’s internal organs, including the heart, liver, spleen, pancreas, kidneys, and bladder are examined by the use of ultrasound. This procedure is very helpful to our veterinarians because of its ability to show movement of internal tissues and organs and enables them to see blood flow and heart valve functions. This can help diagnose a variety of heart conditions, including damage after a heart attack.
Other procedures performed through ultrasound include confirmation of pregnancy, ultrasound guided biopsy, tumor diagnosis, bladder stones, and many more.
Computed Tomography (CT)
Computed Tomography (CT) Scanning capabilities are available at Sun Valley Animal Center. Clinical applications include middle/inner ear evaluation, fracture identification in skull trauma, diagnosis of MCP fractures in elbows, precise detection of musculoskeletal soft tissue, ureter evaluation, brain scans and much more.
OFA Hips & Elbows
OFA (Orthopedic Foundation for Animals), formed by John M. Olin in 1966 also assesses Canine Hip Dysplasia (CHD) and Degenerative Joint Disease (DJD). OFA raises money for research to advise, encourage and establish control programs to lower the incidence of orthopedic and genetic diseases in animals. OFA’s traditional method for determining CHD and DJD relies on the standard technique of radiographic positioning of the pelvis or hips only in the extended position, therefore the passive hip laxity is not included in their assessment.
Gastrointestinal problems are some of the more common complaints in domestic animals, encompassing a large range of problems, from intestinal parasites to cancer. Diagnostics always start with a good history and physical exam. Further diagnostics can include fecal studies, blood work, radiography, barium studies, and potentially surgery.
An Arthrogram is a series of images, often x-rays, of a joint following injection of a contrast medium.
Minimally invasive surgical techniques are seemingly more common in the veterinary world. Just like in people, these procedures are less painful and allow for quicker recovery. Commonly performed procedures in dogs include ovariohysterectomy, liver and kidney biopsies, as well as gastropexies.