One of the biggest developments in technology in veterinary medicine over the years has been the advance in new equipment for reading x-rays.

In years past we had to use films and chemical baths to develop them, a bit like old film cameras. The chemicals smelled strongly and were toxic and we needed a special darkroom to develop them.  It was quite an ordeal as the x-rays had to be at a certain temperature or the film would not develop properly. You would often have to take multiple images to get the picture you wanted, and the clarity was extremely poor. 

Then came CR technology; we no longer had films or smelly chemicals, however, what we did have was special cassettes with a computer screen in them. These would get placed into a huge disc drive and the computer would read the image. Still clunky and cumbersome and it involved moving the film under the patient, which could be uncomfortable for the patient.

However, a couple of years back Direct Vet Services decided to upgrade to the latest technology –  Digital Radiography and it has been a game-changer for our patients!  The level of detail we can see on images is phenomenal! One plate is placed under the pet, push the button and by wireless magic, the image appears on our screens. No moving pets, no moving plates, and best of all no moving parts therefore much more reliable. The detail is amazing; in some images, we can see the hair.

So what does this mean for the patients and to their owners? 

Put simply it means a highly efficient and more comfortable process allowing us to provide the appropriate care far sooner.

Not sure if your pet swallowed that battery when they chewed up the garage remote? An Xray will soon tell us and thankfully for the most recent guilty party there was no battery to be found on the image, so we knew he was safe.

But having this technology on-site also means we can quickly share the images with other clinics and specialists when pets need to be referred for specialist surgeries, or we require a second opinion, or when clients move to a new area, so the new vet has a thorough past history.

We often send them for a second pair of eyes to the amazing team at Advanced Vet Care to help us out!

We can also print pictures to show clients and to help explain the issues at hand to you more clearly.

Let me share some cool images with you and a bit of a story.

A sad story but with a happy ending. 

Harlo is an older bulldog who was bred by Dr. Karen many years ago. In more recent times she had been living in a country town and was involved in an altercation with a horse. The owner had decided that they were not prepared to treat her given her age (10yo) and could not afford the surgery.

Word got back to Dr. K and Harlo was returned some 400km via friends. When she arrived, it was pretty clear that her leg was broken and unstable. X-rays taken at the clinic showed it was a pretty bad break just above the knee and was broken in several pieces.

The options were plating (a bit close to the joint and a few fragments could be an issue), pinning or amputation.  These options were able to be made swiftly based solely due to the clarity of the x-rays.

We decided to pin and using a technique of retrograde pinning we went via the knee and up the leg into the femur bone. We knew the alignment wouldn’t be perfect, however, once we had a functional leg and once healed, it would be fine. 

The ‘after films’ showed us that the pin was deep enough into the bone to provide stability.  It felt nice and stable when manipulated, and although not perfect with so many little splits and fragments, it was a great outcome and Harlo kept her leg.

Being able to take these images quickly, not having to move Harlo about, and getting such great and detailed information, meant we could provide her with far better care.

This is the same when we take Xrays of your best mates.

While the reasons may vary, the information and the quick time frame with minimal movement and discomfort is why we went the extra mile and purchased such amazing equipment. While we hope you will never need us to use it, we have it here just in case.

Harlo now lives with Brianna, Dr. Karen’s stepdaughter, and is loving the apartment life, going café latte-ing and living her best senior days!  Oh, and when she has a sleepover it has not stopped her going on wombat hunting expeditions with Teddy – naughty dogs!