What is a cat diagnostic imaging?

Diagnostic imaging covers several different types or modalities. The most common that we use at the clinic is X-rays. Other types that we also use include ultrasound, and occasionally we refer cases out to do CT or CAT scans, or possibly MRI imaging.

Dr. David Hale
Hebron Animal Hospital

How does the use of diagnostic imaging help to determine health issues in cats?

We use diagnostic imaging because cats can't speak to us. Cats often come in with vague symptoms that people observe, and we will then make the decision that an x-ray or an ultrasound would be a valuable tool to see what's going on on the inside.

What are some possible conditions that are diagnosed using cat x-rays?

The most obvious condition we diagnose using X-rays is a broken bone. However, we also use X-rays for cats if they're not breathing well or if they're coughing or gagging. Cats that are vomiting or have diarrhea will have x-rays taken to rule out problems in their abdomen.

What other diagnostics can we see with the cat ultrasound?

With the cat ultrasound, we can see real-time imaging of what's going on internally. We do abdominal ultrasounds fairly frequently to look at the health of their bladder and kidneys. Sometimes, we use it to look for abnormal fluid that might accumulate in their abdomens, as well as to check the health of their liver and gallbladder.

How would you decide that a cat needs diagnostic imaging?

It all starts with the observations that the cat's owner would make, from lack of eating to weight loss, increased amounts of water consumption, vomiting, etc. Based on that, and a regular examination of the cat, we would determine if an x-ray or ultrasound would be relevant to get the information we need to help.

Why is early detection and diagnosis of internal injury important to cats?

Early detection is key. The sooner we can find a problem, the sooner we can treat it before a cat, or any animal, becomes too sick.

If you still have other questions and you'd like to reach out to us, you can call us directly at (859) 349-1020, or you can email us at [email protected]. But please do reach out, and we'll get back to you as fast as we can. Don't forget to follow us on social media Facebook, Instagram

Cat Diagnostic Imaging - FAQs 1



Hebron Animal Hospital

Can you explain what happens during a cat diagnostic imaging appointment?

Our clients often have questions about what happens during a cat diagnostic imaging appointment. We've written down a few questions, and we are here to answer those for you.

Does my cat get anesthetized for diagnostic imaging?

The need for anesthesia depends on the temperament of the cat. Here at Hebron, we strive for a fear-free environment and avoid stressing the animals more than necessary. If anesthesia is required to calm them down, prevent a stressful memory, or to keep them from moving during the x-ray, we can provide it. However, most of the time, we can complete the imaging without anesthesia by comforting them and making them feel secure.

What happens to my cat during an x-ray?

During an x-ray, we position the cat either on their back or on either side, depending on what we need to image. We securely hold the limbs and the head to ensure the body is still enough to capture a clear image. The process takes maybe five to 10 seconds, and most cats are quite cooperative.

Will my cat experience pain during a cat diagnostic imaging?

No, your cat should not experience pain during imaging. If we are examining an area that may already be causing discomfort, we do our utmost to ensure they are as comfortable as possible. We want to avoid causing any further stress or pain. Occasionally, a cat may meow, but we aim not to cause any additional discomfort.

How can x-rays help my cat?

X-rays can reveal foreign objects that a cat may have swallowed, indicate if there are any masses inside the abdomen or thorax, and allow us to compare with previous images to see if anything's changed. They can also highlight things like calcium deposits. Essentially, we're looking for anything that shouldn't be there.

What happens if there is still no diagnosis after cat diagnostic imaging?

If we do not reach a diagnosis after the initial imaging, we may proceed with further diagnostics, such as an ultrasound. This gives us a live view of what we are looking at on an X-ray, showing us how things are moving and functioning. If necessary, we can refer your cat to a specialist or a radiologist for further imaging.

Can you explain the process of taking an x-ray of a cat's back leg?

To x-ray a cat's back leg, we place the animal in a lateral position and center their hips and pelvis in the middle of the field. We stretch one leg back and pull the other down, ensuring our hands are out of the x-ray. This positioning gives us a clear view of the leg, knee, and hips.

How do you ensure the safety of my cat during diagnostic imaging?

When we have an awake cat, we always have at least two people present. One person sits with the cat, ensuring they are not stressed or trying to get off the table. The other operates the equipment and ensures the images are correctly uploaded for the doctor. Our priority is the safety and comfort of your cat.

Will my cat need lab testing prior to diagnostic imaging?

Lab testing prior to diagnostic imaging is not always necessary. If we need to understand organ values, we may do blood testing beforehand. However, if we just need a general picture of what's going on inside, we can proceed without lab testing. For a more complete picture, lab testing is an option.

If you still have other questions and you'd like to reach out to us, you can call us directly at (859) 349-1020, or you can email us at [email protected]. But please do reach out, and we'll get back to you as fast as we can. Don't forget to follow us on social media Facebook, Instagram