Vet Using Digital X-Rays for Better Diagnoses

Vet Using Digital X-Rays for Better Diagnoses

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Tonya Papanikolas ReportingA veterinary clinic in Cottonwood Heights is making it a little easier to get a diagnosis for your pet. Willow Creek Pet Care is the first Utah clinic to start using digital x-rays.

With traditional x-rays the doctor can't always see what he or she needs to. And if they have to order another x-ray it gives off more radiation to the pet and staff. But this new digital system makes it a lot easier to find problems.

Meet Ulley, a Greater Swiss Mountain Dog. He's walking fine now, but that wasn't the case recently.

Scott Lilja, Pet Owner: "In the morning he'd have trouble getting up and he'd walk down the hallway and fall down."

The Liljas took Ulley to Willow Creek Pet Care Dr. Rick Campbell found the problem through an x-ray, but not a typical one. His clinic is the first in Utah to use digitally enhanced radiography.

Dr. Rick Campbell, Willow Creek Pet Care: "It's really giving us much more information than we've ever had."

Seconds after taking the x-ray a vet can call it up on the computer and change the contrast to see it better. He can also change the background to make the bones darker. Ulley's problem was a compressed disk in his neck.

Scott Lilja: "It's a fairly small area that's deep in there, and it's amazing to me that they could figure that out from looking at an x-ray."

Doctors can also zoom in to find problems, like they did with another animal.

Dr. Campbell: "We can see a growth of possibly a hematoma here on the lungs right there."

And when a dog is pregnant, digital enhancements can help determine how many puppies the mom will have.

Dr. Rick Campbell: "People are in a hurry. The last thing they want to do is sit at the veterinarian's office trying to get answers about their dog."

For the Liljas, a quicker diagnosis meant quicker recovery for Ulley.

Scott Lilja: "He's now able to walk and do everything that dogs are supposed to do."

Another thing this system does is make it easier to consult with specialists around the country because they can just e-mail the x-rays to another doctor.

Pet owners will be happy to hear it's no more expensive for them than it was before.

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