Space-aged technology comes to Bay Area specialty pet care.
By NorCalVet Emergency + Specialty Hospital
If you own a smartphone, you have more computing power in your pocket than NASA had in 1969 to land astronauts on the moon. The same computer revolution that shrank a room full of mainframe computers onto a chip the size of your thumbnail has also radically changed the face of medicine and veterinary technology – as computer chips get smaller, faster, and less expensive, so do the devices that depend on them, including many medical devices.
At NorCal, we use advanced technology every day to improve the quality of the care we provide to our patients. In many cases, this results in fewer or less invasive procedures, shorter hospital stays, and improved outcomes.
High-resolution digital radiography provides excellent quality images with less radiation exposure than traditional film systems. The images are available immediately after taking the exposure, greatly reducing the time between re-takes. And since the original image is digital, we can use software to manipulate the contrast and magnification and get more information from these images, decreasing the number of re-takes. Less anesthesia time and less radiation for your pet!
Utilizes a steady stream of x-rays, Fluoroscopy helps to visualize structures in motion. Sometimes during joint surgery, for example, being able to see the bones as they move is critical to long-term success for our patient. We can see the way the bones interact with each other, and make adjustments during surgery. Fluoroscopy is also useful for watching barium or other contrast media move through the digestive tract – there is simply no better way to observe motility/movement disorders.
There are also times when a more three-dimensional view is necessary. This is often the case with ruptured or bulging discs between the vertebrae. Thankfully, our available CT scanner can do just that – take a series of radiographs that are interpreted by the computer, giving us very accurate views of the individual discs. This makes surgery more accurate, giving better outcomes with less recovery time.
For those times when we must see the inside of a tube (such as the esophagus, stomach, upper small intestine, colon, or even trachea), the flexible endoscope is the tool of choice for a minimally invasive procedure. This long, thin instrument (a yard long, but only ½” wide) bends under the control of the operator and allows us to see colors and textures, and visualize disease directly. In addition to being able to see deep into the body, tools such as grasping or biopsy forceps are used to extract foreign bodies or take tissue samples, without having to perform “surgery.”
Using continuous sound waves, Ultrasound gives a very different type of image from radiography. Because sound waves are constantly being emitted and received, ultrasound can be used to examine high-motion structures like the heart in addition to abdominal structures like the liver, spleen, pancreas, kidneys, intestines and adrenal glands.
We’ve only just begun…
Advancing technology makes high quality care more accessible, safer, and more affordable than ever before. NorCal doctors are committed to staying up with the current advances and using this to our patients’ advantage.