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Small Animal Imaging

Every year, thousands of companion animals visit the UC Davis Veterinary Medicine Teaching Hospital and are in need of a procedure from our Diagnostic Imaging Service. While dogs and cats are the pets we treat the most, we will occasionally see exotic species such as iguanas, parrots, turtles, rabbits and others. Our facilities are designed to handle the largest dogs down to the smallest birds.

The VMTH is equipped with the latest in imaging technology, and is available 24 hours a day/7 days a week.


Small Animal Imaging

The VMTH’s imaging procedures for small animals include:

Frequently Asked Questions

  • Why does my pet need a radiograph (x-ray)?
  • A radiograph (x-ray) is a diagnostic test just as labwork is a diagnostic test.
  • Why do you have to take so many films?
  • The body is a three dimensional structure, but an x-ray is only two-dimensional. On a single x-ray the different parts of the body are superimposed on one another or may overlap one another. By taking more than one x-ray in different positions, we can better visualize the bones and soft tissues to detect an abnormality.
  • Does my pet need any special preparation for x-rays or ultrasound?
  • Generally it's best if you do not feed your pet the morning of the examination. Check with your veterinarian to make sure that this does not interfere with any of your pet's medical conditions.
  • Will my animal need to be sedated?
  • Many x-ray and ultrasound examinations can be done with gentle manual restraint. However, sedation or anesthesia is used for pets who are excitable, or for imaging studies that have to be very carefully positioned. CT and MR examinations are done under general anesthesia.
  • Will x-rays harm my pet?
  • The dose of radiation used to take x-rays or CT images, or perform a nuclear scintigraphy study, are very low, and will not cause harm to your pet.
  • Who will perform my pet's exam?
  • Our highly qualified technologists perform all examinations. Certain exams require the direct one on one contact with a radiologist as well as the technologist. All examinations are overseen by a radiologist.
  • Can I have a copy of my pet's images for my own veterinarian?
  • A CD of your animal's images can be made on request for a charge of $25.00.
  • Can I hold my pet during the examination?
  • Because of radiation safety regulations, owners cannot be present in protected areas during the study.