Diagnosing Illness and Injuries in Dogs and Cats

Scarborough Veterinary X-Rays

scarborough veterinary x-raysThough radiographs may seem like a technology from the 20th Century, they are in fact an important and cost effective veterinary diagnostic tool. Radiographs—also known as X-rays—are extremely helpful at identifying and diagnosing a number of medical conditions affecting your pet’s lungs, heart, abdomen, oral cavity, bladder, kidneys and other areas. For example, a radiograph can detect cancerous tumors, diagnose heartworm disease, bladder and kidney stones, and foreign objects.

X-rays are also very important for helping diagnose and treat injuries such as broken bones, joint injuries and illnesses and many other orthopedic conditions.

Because Birch-Dan Animal Hospital believes that all animals deserve the best care possible we offer computerized radiographs using our IDEXX CR system. Since our radiographs are digital, we are able to easily send them for timely second opinions from a board certified radiologist.

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Veterinary Ultrasound

Ultrasound is a very important diagnostic tool because it allows your veterinarian to gain a very precise look at your pet’s internal organs, chest and abdomen without surgery or sedation.

In particular, ultrasound is invaluable for making treatment decisions for various types of heart disease, assess the function and health of internal organs, and identify lesions, determine their origin, and if they have spread to other areas of the body. Ultrasound is also a very powerful surgical aid such as by helping guide your veterinarian while obtaining a biopsy or removing a foreign object from your pet.

In most cases, the procedure is relatively brief, less than an hour, and your pet is able to go home the very same day. Most importantly, though, your veterinarian will be able to make a highly accurate diagnosis of your pet’s condition and provide effective treatment recommendations.

In order to provide this important diagnostic tool to our clients’ pets we work with a specialist who travels to our hospital to perform ultrasound studies.

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Veterinary Endoscopy

scarborough Veterinary EndoscopyVeterinary endoscopy aids in the diagnosis and treatment of problems occurring in the upper and lower gastrointestinal tracts. An endoscope allows a more complete examination of the esophagus, stomach, and some areas of the intestines in order to diagnose gastrointestinal disorders, cancerous growths, polyps, and other problems.

The endoscope is also useful in obtaining samples of potentially infected or cancerous material and serves as the visual aid during a biopsy, allowing the doctor to obtain the best sample for evaluation. This helps diagnose malignancies in the gastrointestinal tract as well as gastrointestinal disorders like Inflammatory Bowel Disease.

The endoscope also aids in the removal of foreign bodies. Animals often swallow objects that cannot be digested or passed through the digestive tract. The endoscope allows better vision of the digestive tract so these objects may be removed without major surgery.

Birch-Dan Animal Hospital provides this service through the same specialist that provides ultrasounds at our hospital.

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Preventing Glaucoma in Your Pet

Glaucoma doesn’t only affect humans; your pet can develop it too. Glaucoma is a condition in which the fluid pressure inside the eye increases to a point where the optic nerve is damaged, causing loss of vision and blindness. Glaucoma is relatively common in animals and can develop as your pet ages—this is known as chronic glaucoma—or as the result of an injury or illness—this is known as acute glaucoma.

In many cases glaucoma can progress quite rapidly—especially when it is the result of injury or underlying illness—and is considered an emergency situation. Symptoms to look for include:

  • Redness in the eye;
  • Tearing or discharge;
  • Eye sensitivity to light;
  • Pain;
  • The eye may look cloudy;
  • Bulging eyeball.

Due to the severity and incidence of glaucoma, we recommend that you have your pet checked regularly for this disease. A routine glaucoma exam is not only an effective screening measure for chronic and acute glaucoma, but can also help set a baseline measurement for your pet. Setting a baseline measurement is important because normal Intraocular Pressure (IOP) can vary between species, breeds and even individual pets.

Birch-Dan Animal Hospital uses a digital tonometer to measure the fluid pressure inside your pet’s eyes. It is a noninvasive procedure that should not cause your pet any pain or discomfort; though your veterinarian will apply a mild anesthetic eye drop to ensure your pet is comfortable during the exam.

The examination is very quick to perform and once done, your veterinarian will explain your pet’s measurement, what it tells us about the health of your pet’s eyes, and provide any treatment options if necessary.

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The Lab

scarborough pet diagnosticsPerforming 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 it is difficult to make an accurate diagnosis or assessment of your pet’s health.

Birch-Dan Animal Hospital provides Scarborough veterinary lab services via our IDEXX reference lab. IDEXX is one of the leading laboratory equipment manufacturers in North America and allows us to run a wide range of tests. These include chemistry and general wellness testing, complete blood counts, heartworm and tick-borne disease testing, and pre-anesthetic blood screening.

Additionally, since we are seeing a high number of positive tests for tick-borne disease we automatically test for this when performing heartworm testing.

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