Dr. Debra Primovic
Diagnostic and Therapeutic Procedures

WHAT IS AN ABDOMINAL RADIOGRAPH (X-RAY)?

An abdominal radiograph (X-ray) is a procedure that allows your veterinarian to visualize tissue, organs and bones that lie beneath the skin. Abdominal X-rays are indicated to evaluate pets with abdominal symptoms such as vomiting, retching, constipation or diarrhea. This test can also be helpful in cases of unexplained fever, abdominal trauma, penetrating abdominal wounds, loss of appetite or weight loss. An X-ray is often done when a pet is suspected of swallowing foreign material, when blood tests indicate a problem with abdominal organs, or as a follow up to physical examination when abdominal pain or another abnormality is detected. Detecting stage of pregnancy and number of fetuses is another important use of the X-ray. Kidney, urinary bladder and reproductive tract problems can also benefit from an abdominal X-ray. There is no real contraindication to performing this test. Even normal results help determine health or exclude certain diseases.

WHAT DOES AN ABDOMINAL X-RAY REVEAL OR DEMONSTRATE?

Abdominal X-rays provide an image of the bones and the outlines of a number of internal organs including the liver, stomach, intestines, kidneys, bladder, uterus and prostate gland. This test can be extremely useful for detecting changes in the shape, size or position of organs. Unfortunately, important structures can sometimes blend together on X-rays, so this test does have limitations. For example, a tumor may blend into the background of normal organs because they have the same “opacity,” or shade of gray as the normal tissues. Some foreign objects (such as some plastics) can be invisible on the X-ray. Thus, abdominal X-rays are an excellent “screening test,” but they do not detect all internal problems. In some cases, additional procedures such as ultrasound, endoscopy (scoping), contrast (barium) or dye study or even exploratory surgery are needed to diagnose an intra-abdominal problem.

How Is an Abdominal X-ray Done?

Specialized, expensive equipment is required to expose and develop the X-ray film. The pet’s abdomen is measured with a special ruler and the exposure time of the X-ray machine is set. The pet is then placed gently on his side to obtain the “lateral” view. Invisible X-rays then pass from the tube of the radiograph machine, through the animal and onto the X-ray film underneath the pet. Depending on the density of the tissues and organs and the ability of the X-rays to pass through these tissues, different shades of gray will show up on the developed X-ray. This process is then repeated with the animal on his back to obtain the “ventrodorsal” view. Taking two views of the abdomen will give your veterinarian a more complete study and allow a more thorough interpretation of the abdomen.

The film is then developed. Radiographs usually take about 5 to 20 minutes to obtain, plus the development time needed for the film (5 to 30 minutes). Special studies (such as a barium study) take much longer. In some situations, your veterinarian may request the assistance of a radiologist or specialist in evaluating and interpreting the radiographs.

IS AN ABDOMINAL X-RAY PAINFUL?

No pain is involved. The procedure is noninvasive.

IS SEDATION OR ANESTHESIA NEEDED FOR AN ABDOMINAL X-RAY?

Neither sedation nor anesthesia is needed in most patients; however, some pets resent positioning for an X-ray and may need tranquilization or ultrashort anesthesia. In a few states there is a legal requirement for sedation so that personnel are not exposed to any X-rays while holding an animal patient. However, in most cases, the unsedated pet is attended by assistants who wear appropriate lead-shields to minimize their exposure to X-rays.

Dear Valued Clients

During these challenging times, there have been some unforeseen changes at The Big Easy Animal Hospital. I cannot express enough my sincere apology for any inconvenience you have experienced at The Big Easy during these times. As we strive to make the practice safe to protect everyone including you, your family, and our Big Easy team and their families, I’ve decided to make certain changes while we are under this pandemic. These changes will be temporary.

 

Monday through Friday:

Walk Ins start at 10:00am, check-in starts at 9:00am.There are a limited amount of patients we can accept. Our receptionists will be happy to assist you with options to help guide you and your pet(s).)

 

Starting Saturday, August 1st

Saturdays will be TECHNICIAN APPOINTMENTS only. These will include boosters, bloodwork, nail trims, certain diagnostics, etc. There will not be a veterinarian on site. While I understand these changes can be inconvenient, I have listed local veterinary clinics that we have contacted and are open to see walk-ins throughout the week and Saturdays as well. For life threatening emergencies that occur outside business hours, please contact the following 24-hour animal hospitals below.

Please, be safe and healthy.

Thank you all for your understanding. -Aileen Ruiz, DVM

 

24 Hour Emergency Care:

 

Pittsburgh Veterinary Specialty and Emergency Center

807 Camp Horne Road
Pittsburgh, PA
(412)366-3400

 

AVETS

4224 Northern Pike
Monroeville, PA
(412)373-4200


VCA Castle Shannon Animal Hospital

3610 Library Road
Pittsburgh, PA
(412)885-2500


Veterinarians Accepting Walk in Care:

Penn Animal Hospital

2205 Penn Avenue
(412)471-9855
WALK—IN’S—MONDAY THRU FRIDAY from 10:00 AM – 1:30 PM


North Boros Veterinary Hospital

2255 Babcock Blvd
(412)821-5600
WALK-IN’S—MONDAY THRU FRIDAY from 9:00 AM – 12:30 PM

 

 

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