Becker Animal Hospital | Becker Medical Glossary
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Becker Medical Glossary

Radiology (X-Rays)

Radiology (x-rays) is routinely used to provide valuable information about a pet’s bones, gastrointestinal tract (stomach, intestines, colon), respiratory tract (lungs), heart, and genitourinary system (bladder, prostate). It can be used alone or in conjunction with other diagnostic tools to provide a list of possible causes for a pet’s condition, identify the exact cause of a problem or rule out possible problems.

When a pet is being radiographed, an x-ray beam passes through its body and hits a piece of radiographic film. Images on the film appear as various shades of gray and reflect the anatomy of the animal. Bones, which absorb more x-rays, appear as light gray structures. Soft tissues, such as the lungs, absorb fewer x-rays and appear as dark gray structures. Interpretation of radiographs requires great skill on the part of the veterinarian.

Endoscopy

Endoscopy is a diagnostic procedure that allows our veterinarians to visualize and biopsy (obtaining samples of tissue for testing) your pet’s internal organs without the need for invasive surgery. It can, for example, allow us to retrieve an accidentally swallowed item without the need for surgery.

Tonometry

We have the ability to test your dog or cat’s eyes for excess pressure easily and safely. This test allows us to diagnose glaucoma and eye infections that could cause blindness if not detected and treated early.

Ultrasonography

Ultrasonography,or ultrasound, is a diagnostic imaging technique similar to radiography (X-rays) and is usually used in conjunction with radiography and other diagnostic measures. It allows visualization of the deep structures of the body.

Ultrasound can be used for a variety of purposes including examination of the animal’s heart, kidneys, liver, gallbladder, bladder etc. It can also be used to determine pregnancy and to monitor an ongoing pregnancy. Ultrasound can detect fluid, cysts, tumors or abscesses.

A ‘transducer’ (a small hand held tool) is applied to the surface of the body to which an ultrasound image is desired. Gel is used to help the transducer slide over the skin surface and create a more accurate visual image.

Sound waves are emitted from the transducer and directed into the body where they are bounced off the various organs to different degrees depending on the density of the tissues and amount of fluid present. The sounds are then fed back through the transducer and are relfected on a viewing monitor. Ultrasound is a painless procedure with no known side effects. It does not involve radiation.

Dermatology (Skin)

Dermatology refers to the study of the skin. Skin disease is a frequently observed problem in dogs and cats. Diagnosing a skin problem in your pet may simply require an examination by a veterinarian; however, most skin diseases or problems require additional steps to accurately obtain a diagnosis. Additional diagnostic procedures may include blood work, urinalysis, skin scraping, biopsies, etc.

The cause of skin problems range from hormonal disorders to the common flea. You should book an appointment for your animal if you notice any excessive itchy behavior, loss of hair, and / or the presence of scabs or scale on the skin.

Endocrinology (Hormones)

Endocrinology is the study of hormones and there are several common endocrine disorders found in dogs and cats. Hypothyroidism is often diagnosed in dogs. Hypothyroidism indicates that the animal has low levels of circulating thyroid hormone. The opposite is true for cats. They are frequently diagnosed with high levels of circulating thyroid hormones.
Additional endocrine problems include Cushing’s Disease and Addison’s Disease.

There are many signs observable in pets with endocrine disease. These signs include (but are not limited to) the following: abnormal energy levels, abnormal behavior, abnormal drinking, urinating and eating behavior, excessive panting, skin disorders, and weight gain or loss.

Cryosurgery

Cryosurgery is a surgical process used to destroy tissue using extreme temperatures of cold. It is most frequently used to remove or destroy small growths on the skin of animals.