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Digital Radiography

Radiographs (x-rays) have long been a common diagnostic tool for identifying medical problems in both small and large animals.  In the simplest terms, a radiograph is basically a photograph that gives us a two-dimensional image of what's under the skin in a body area.  Like traditional photo cameras, traditional radiographs used film to record the image.  Once exposed, the film had to be developed or processed in chemical baths to see the image.  The quality of the image could be affected by exposure settings and the size of the animal.  In some instances, the radiographs needed to be retaken to get a diagnostic image.  If consultation with a specialist on interpretation of the radiograph was needed, then the radiograph needed to be mailed.

In the case of digital radiographs, the image is now recorded on a sensor that in turn is processed by a computer.  This has several advantages over film radiographs. First is that chemical processing of film is no longer necessary, so there is less hazardous waste generated.    The other big advantage is that the images can now be e-mailed for second opinions, leading to a faster response, usually within 24-48 hours instead of the 3 - 7 days it use to take.  The images are more portable, as well, and can be copied on CDs to send with the pet's owner.  The most important advantage, however, is that the quality of the image can be manipulated in the computer, which leads to fewer retakes and reduced patient exposure to radiation.

Below are some examples of digital radiographs.



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