CT Referral Indications

Deciding when a CT is necessary for your patients can be a difficult question to answer. Please use these as basic guidelines and always feel free to call NWVI to discuss the specific needs for your patient. We will help you decide whether CT or other imaging modalities such as MRI are appropriate to answer your specific clinical questions.

  • Nasal discharge or epistaxis
  • Exopthalmia
  • Nasopharyngeal polyps
  • Middle ear disease
  • Oropharyngeal foreign bodies
  • Oropharyngeal masses
  • Thyroid neoplasia
  • Trauma/Complicated fractures
  • TMJ disease
  • Metastasis evaluation
  • Lymphatic evaluation
  • Pulmonary or mediastinal masses
  • Body wall/rib masses
  • Spontaneous pneumothorax
  • Chylothorax/pleural effusion
  • Esophageal mass
  • Questionable diaphragmatic hernia
  • Lung lobe torsion
  • Complicated pulmonary/pleural pathology
  • Pulmonary thromboembolic disease
  • Portosystemic shunt
  • Large or complicated mass lesions
  • Adrenal gland mass vascular invasion
  • Excretory urogram/ectopic ureters
  • Vascular thromboembolic disease
  • Splenic torsion
  • Body wall masses
  • Elbow dysplasia
  • Osteochondrosis
  • Soft tissue masses
  • Intramuscular lipomas
  • Complicated fractures
  • Bone neoplasia
  • Fistulogram/Soft tissue foreign bodies


Steve Porknoy
The Ultrasound Procedure

The advanced diagnostic technique of ultrasound has become a standard of care in veterinary medicine.  The speed and accuracy of results frequently outweigh the client and patient stress, expense, and pain of more invasive diagnostics and surgery. When combined with various minimally-invasive biopsy techniques, a diagnosis can be safely and accurately determined in most cases.

All examinations and procedures are performed by our board-certified radiologists.

  • Abdominal exam:  Abdominal ultrasound exams are complete exams.  Limited or focused exams are not recommended as occult pathology can be missed.
  • Thoracic exam:  Pulmonary or thoracic wall lesions can be found with ultrasound and in most cases, be aspirated or biopsied to obtain a diagnosis.
  • Hypercalcemia exam:  Exam includes both abdomen and neck.  Indicated for patients with hypercalcemia or elevated PTH.
  • Bicavitary Exam:  Exam includes complete ultrasound of abdomen and thorax.
  • Pregnancy: A limited ultrasound performed to confirm pregnancy, estimate litter size and confirm fetal viability.
  • Ocular Exam:  Used to rule-out primary neoplasia of the eye or retrobulbar space, retrobulbar abscess or retinal detatchment.  Retrobulbar biopsies can be performed.
  • Musculoskeletal exam:  Used to evaluate joints and tendons. US-guided injections can be performed.
  • Percardiocentesis
  • Thoracocentesis - for diagnostic or therapeutic purposes
  • Abdominocentesis
  • Cystocentesis
  • Cholecystocentesis
  • Fine-needle aspirate – FNA are the least invasive biopsy technique performed to obtain tissue for cytopathologic evaluation.  Most patients do not need to be sedated for this procedure.  Coagulation profiles are not required.
  • Tru-cut tissue core biopsies – Used to obtain tissue samples for histopathologic evaluation.  A clotting profile is required prior to the procedure.  Patients will need to be anesthetized for the procedure.
  • Musculoskeletal exam:  Used to evaluate joints and tendons. US-guided injections can be performed.


Learn more about digital imaging

Do you want to know more about digital imagining? This website provides great case examples and details of the processes involved.

Thinking of transitioning to digital imaging?

Please feel free to contact us with any questions regarding such a switch. There are two basic categories of digital systems, CR and DR.  CR technology typically uses a plate, requiring a processing step while DR creates instantaneous images. Thus, there is a difference in time to produce an image but not necessarily in quality. Processing of CR images is usually faster then processing plain films and the decision to choose DR or CR may be based on cost (CR is usually less expensive) and the number of radiographs obtained per day (instantaneous images may make more sense for busier practices).  We would be happy to discuss options for equipment and suppliers with you.