What is the procedure like for each cat diagnostic imaging tool? - The Waggin' Train Veterinary Clinic

When it comes to the tools we use - X-ray and ultrasound - it’s a matter of hoping that the cat is cooperative enough with you to lay still. That's it. With an X-ray, we typically want to get a lateral view with them on their side of whatever we're shooting, whether it's abdomen, chest, or even an extremity. If you want a lateral view coming from the side, then you typically want what we call it a VD ventral dorsal. So you want it from the bottom to the top. So we put them on their back and we kind of stretch them out that way. And that's what we try to do. Some cats will do that quite readily. Some cats will not. Sometimes they require a bit of sedation to allow us to position them properly and get good images. Obviously, we don't want to sedate animals if we don't have to, especially sick animals, but sometimes in order to obtain a clear diagnosis and do it justice, you have to use sedation. You just can't do it on an awake cat who's fighting and trying to bite you. So sometimes they have to be sedated. Ultrasound is almost identical to that. We have a little V-shaped cushion that we'll put them in and we'll normally have my technicians holding them, giving them affection, and they do whatever they have to do to keep them occupied or distracted. And an ultrasound's very non-invasive—it's a little probe that you use after wetting their skin down with alcohol or some sort of a contrast agent. You roll the little probe around to see what you need to see. Again, some of them require sedation. It just depends on the cat. The last two modalities - CT scan, MRI - are seldom done in common general practice. But if they do have to be done, those animals often have to be under general anesthetic or very heavy sedation because they can't move. Those scanners are such that you cannot have people in the scanner with them holding a cat in position. The cat has to lay there perfectly positioned and not move. Good luck doing that on an animal that's awake.