Diagnostic Services

Digital Radiographs at Stiern and Southwest Veterinary Hospitals

Radiographs, or X-rays, are one of the most common, useful diagnostic tools in medicine. At Stiern and Southwest Veterinary Hospitals, we use X-rays to examine your pet's bones, lungs, heart, abdomen, oral cavity and other areas, and for diagnosing and monitoring many medical and surgical conditions. If we suspect your pet has a fractured bone, has swallowed a foreign object, or is suffering from a heart problem, an X-ray can tell us what we need to know.

To provide you with the highest-quality veterinary care for your pet, Stiern and Southwest Veterinary Hospitals have invested in state-of-the-art digital X-ray machines. There are many important advantages to digital X-rays:

  • They can be immediately viewed on a computer monitor.
  • The clear, detailed images can be manipulated to get a better view of your pet's bones and internal organs, leading to a faster, more accurate diagnosis.
  • They take less time to process, which means less time for your pet on the X-ray table (and less stress), and less waiting time for you.
  • No harsh chemicals are needed to develop the images, reducing potential harm to our staff and the environment.
  • If a second opinion is necessary, digital X-rays can be emailed to a specialist.

Advanced diagnostic capabilities are an extremely important part of veterinary medicine, in part because we can't simply ask our patients what is wrong. Our investment in digital X-ray technology reflects our commitment to offer you and your pet the best, most comprehensive veterinary care.


Assuring Your Pet's Health With Ultrasound

Ultrasound is a painless, safe, non-invasive procedure we use to evaluate your pet's internal organs. It is one of the many ways we strive to give you peace of mind when it comes to your pet's health. Using sound waves, ultrasound produces a real-time moving picture of your pet's organs that allows us to visualize objects that cannot be detected by X-rays alone.

This low-risk procedure is an invaluable tool for the modern veterinary practice because it often enables us to diagnose problems that previously required surgery for diagnosis. At Stiern and Southwest Veterinary Hospitals, our veterinary teams utilize ultrasound technology to diagnose kidney, bladder and gall bladder stones, masses, tumors, and other changes in a variety of organs. We can also determine pregnancy and the health of unborn animals. A mobile ultrasound specialist visits our hospitals on a weekly basis to perform more complicated procedures.

Ultrasounds take between 30 to 60 minutes to perform and do not typically require sedation. A diagnosis based on what we see is usually available immediately, which means we can also provide you with treatment options at the time of your appointment, minimizing your worry and stress.


Endoscopy

Endoscopy is a minimally invasive diagnostic procedure commonly used to evaluate the interior surfaces of your pet's organs through a small tube inserted into his or her body. An endoscopic examination can often accurately diagnose what is causing your pet's vomiting, diarrhea, weight loss, abdominal pain or swelling, loss of appetite or respiratory problems. It can also be used to collect biopsy samples and remove certain types of foreign objects, small polyps or tumors.

Although anesthesia is required to keep pets still during the endoscopic procedure, the recovery time is minimal. The benefits of endoscopy over exploratory surgery include no surgical incision, shortened anesthetic time, decreased inflammation, less stress and discomfort and an earlier return to normal function for your pet.

Accurate diagnosis of your pet's symptoms begins with our ability to put together as complete and accurate a picture of what is going on inside your pet's body as possible. For that reason, endoscopy is recommended when routine blood and urine tests, radiographs and ultrasound do not give us the complete diagnostic picture.


Our In-House Medical and Diagnostic Laboratory

Performing preventive medicine as well as diagnosing emergent internal health issues requires the ability to perform a wide range of laboratory tests on blood, urine, feces, and biopsied tissue. Without timely access to precise laboratory test results—blood testing, biopsies, microscopic examinations, bacterial culture sensitivity and more—it is often difficult to accurately assess your pet's health.

Diagnostic testing can detect heartworm disease, infections, feline leukemia, intestinal parasites, urinary tract infections, and many additional conditions that can go unnoticed in their early stages. Early blood testing can show evidence of disease such as diabetes, changes in liver or kidney function, or simply provide a baseline for future reference. Blood testing is also included in pre-anesthetic screenings prior to dental or surgical procedures that require general anesthesia. Annual wellness blood and urine tests, along with other diagnostics, assist us in the early detection of diseases and health conditions.

Laboratory testing allows our veterinarians to obtain this important information for assessing your pet's overall systemic health without the need for invasive, expensive procedures. That's why we maintain an advanced in-house laboratory and regularly perform tests during your pet's wellness exam or when we suspect your pet may have a health issue.