Dr. Joanna Bronson

Physical exams tell us a lot about an animal’s condition, but using the right diagnostic tools can reveal more.

Standard blood tests (CBC/complete blood count) show if the results are within the normal range and if not, where to start looking for procedures and intervention and treatment plans.

Other diagnostic tests can help identify problems not visible during a physical exam, blood tests, biopsies, or urine/fecal tests.

Radiology (x-rays) uses radiation to produce energy that penetrates the body to show underlying structures such as bones and soft tissues (organs). X-ray is considered a standard test for most clinics.

X-rays allow for rapid imaging and can aid in the diagnosis of many conditions such as fractures, heart failure, bladder stones and certain types of cancer. However, radiology may miss brain tumors, prolapsed spinal discs, and more complex issues.

Ultrasound can look inside the body through the use of sound waves. They are useful in diagnosing conditions that might be missed or not easily defined by the use of X-rays. Possibilities include bladder stones, tumors of abdominal organs, and deposits of abdominal fluid as in the case of a hemorrhagic tumor.

Echocardiography is an ultrasound examination of the heart that can detect heart tumors and signs of suspected heart disease, while x-ray can show enlargement of the heart and blood vessels, while echocardiography shows the heart and valves moving. However, it may not reveal all conditions such as pulmonary edema (fluid in the lungs).

Many veterinary clinics also use ultrasound as standard procedures, but if a case is more complex, animals usually need to be referred to a larger veterinary facility for imaging such as a CT scan or MRI.

A scanner combines X-rays taken from different positions to create a more detailed image. This can be very useful in detecting small tumors, complex orthopedic problems and internal bleeding.

If the CT scan does not provide enough information, an MRI (magnetic resonance imaging) may be used to diagnose damage to the knee, nerves, brain and spinal cord, especially if tumors or bleeding are suspected .

Bronson Veterinary Services can now offer appointments with a roving portable CT scan service available to our clients as needed. This service is reserved for small animals, but it is a cost-effective tool because the customer pays for the service directly and avoids a trip to a larger facility. The imaging provides us with the results so that a treatment plan can be developed.

A CT scan can provide additional information about areas of concern that are beyond our resources. Head images can reveal the cause of a chronic runny nose due to the presence of polyps, neoplasia, fungus, or a foreign body. It can also help identify chronic ear infections due to masses or otitis media. In case of facial trauma, he can determine the extent of the injury. Eye disease, mouth masses, and extent of dental disease may be observed.

In the thoracic region, imaging can provide information about metastatic conditions, pleural effusions, pneumothoraxes and bullae of the lungs, mediastinal/base heart masses, and torsion of the lung lobes.

CT scans can provide images of the entire head, including the brain, neck, and head, and information about thyroid conditions. When viewing the abdominal area, a CT scan can determine the presence of a mass and indicate whether it might be operable. Body wall images can identify vaccine sarcomas/invasive lipomas and aid in surgical planning. A bone scan can reveal cancer versus osteomyelitis versus cysts versus proliferative diseases.

With fractures located in the skull, facial area, ribs and pelvic areas and for visualizing dense tissues such as those found in the liver and spleen, a CT image is superior.

A CT scan is excellent for imaging different body conformations and the presence of obstructive gas that may be missed on an ultrasound.

Pancreatitis, adrenal disease, and multiple obstructions are also clearer with a CT scan.

The Mobile MVCT (Mobile Veterinary Computed Tomography) Mobile CT unit travels throughout Michigan providing services to veterinary clinics, hospitals, and zoos and includes all exotic animals.

Referring veterinarians have immediate access to the images and MVCT also forwards the images to a board-certified veterinary radiologist for further interpretation with results typically available the next day.

The MVCT uses a state-of-the-art handheld eight-slice CT scanner manufactured in Danvers, MA and is the same scanner used in stroke ambulances and hospital intensive care units.

Appointments normally take 1-2 weeks to schedule at our clinic for this convenient diagnostic procedure.

Dr Joanna Bronson of Bronson Veterinary Services, located at 452 W. Central Road, Coldwater. Contact her at 517-369-2161 or visit bronsonvetservices.vetstreet.com.