Veterinary Fluoroscopy

What You Need To Know About Fluoroscopy

Fluoroscopy involves a dynamic or real-time radiographic evaluation of selected anatomy such as the trachea and esophagus. Fluoroscopy has been utilized in veterinary medicine and human medicine for years to provide real-time imaging of dynamic anatomies – such as the fluctuations of the trachea on inhalation and exhalation or how an esophagus may dilate or contract with the addition of a contrast agent on ingested food.

The trachea (windpipe) is a tube that carries air to the lower airways.  In tracheal collapse, there is a narrowing of the trachea during breathing.  This condition may affect the part of the trachea that is in the neck (cervical trachea) or in the chest (intrathoracic trachea).

During the procedure, the trachea will be evaluated during normal breathing and when the patient is coughing.  On a few select patients, an interventional procedure known as tracheal stenting can be utilized to effectively open the airway. Case selection is critical

There are clinical abnormalities of the esophagus which affect the patient’s ability to effectively swallow.  A three-phase esophagram is performed using liquid barium (a contrast agent), and liquid barium mixed with canned food and kibble.

During the procedure, the esophagus will be evaluated while the patient is swallowing the various types of food to look for any clinical abnormalities.

After the exam is complete one of our Board-Certified Veterinary Radiologists will meet with the owner and discuss the findings. A report is generated and sent to the owner and referring the veterinarian within 24 hours.

​A diagnosis of portosystemic shunting is achieved at Animal Imaging with Trans-Splenic Portal Scintigraphy (also called Portal Scan). A small dose of radioisotope is administered under ultrasound guidance into the spleen. The passage of radioisotope is evaluated in real-time to determine if a macroscopic shunt is present and if the pattern of uptake supports a single congenital shunt or multiple acquired shunts.

​If shunting is confirmed, this procedure is complemented with an abdominal CT scan to further evaluate the intra-abdominal organs and further characterize the shunting vessel(s). If no shunt is noted on scintigraphy, an abdominal ultrasound is performed for further information.

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