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 anatomy – 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 which carries air to the lower airways.  In tracheal collapse, there is 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 veterinarian within 24 hours.