If you have not already invested in a fluoroscopy machine, you are missing an important tool that has evolved the field of veterinary medicine. To encourage the technology’s further adoption, here are some reasons fluoroscopy is used in veterinary medicine. Hopefully, this list will help you to realize the vitalness of this technology.
What Is Fluoroscopy?
A technique that transmits low doses of continuous X-rays through an area of concern, fluoroscopy allows veterinarians to see real-time moving video imagery of the structures within a pet’s body. Whereas traditional X-rays require pets to sit very still, often under anesthesia, with fluoroscopy, pets are encouraged to move so vets can see how their bodies function and diagnose issues accordingly.
During a fluoroscopy analysis, pets sit in a box on a table. Two C-arm units extend from either side and generate continuous X-ray beams targeted at the animal. Vets can encourage the pet to do certain tasks to help with the diagnosis.
One reason fluoroscopy is used in veterinary medicine is that it is an excellent tool for analyzing a pet’s swallowing abilities. If a pet owner comes into a vet’s office because their pet has difficulty swallowing food or often spits up their dinner, the vet can use the fluoroscopy machine to watch a video X-ray of the dog swallowing.
During this process, the vet will feed the animal various foods that have a high contrast under the X-ray imagery. By watching how the animal swallows and noting which muscles the swallowing process activates or does not activate, vets can diagnose a variety of issues, ranging from Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease (GERD) to Esophageal Motility Disorders.
A digital fluoroscopy machine is also useful for examining the airways if a vet suspects an abnormality. If, for instance, the pet makes a lot of noise when they breathe, coughs often, or is easily winded, a vet can put them under the machine and see if there are any issues that need a diagnosis.
A vet may be able to spot a collapsed trachea using a fluoroscopy machine. In a well-functioning body, the trachea moves air from the mouth and nose to the lungs. Rings made of cartilage support the trachea, helping it keep its tubular shape. If that cartilage is weak, it will not always hold the trachea completely open, leading to its collapse. Using fluoroscopy, a vet can watch the trachea as it collapses.
Since fluoroscopy machines allow surgeons to watch what is happening inside the pet in real-time, vets can perform surgeries less invasively than before. Surgeons can watch what is happening in certain portions of the animal’s body without needing incisions to get the view. Complex fractures and stenting procedures require fewer complications, and therefore less risk, to the pet than ever before.