Diagnostic Imaging (x-rays and ultrasound)

Cat ultrasound

Feline diagnostic imaging is as a crucial part of both the diagnostic process and just to perform an accurate and in-depth assessment of the health and wellbeing of your pet. For this reason, imaging is often carried out as part of your cat’s regular wellness checks as well as being specifically requested if our veterinary team is concerned that something isn’t quite right with your furry feline.

Types of diagnostic imaging

We are delighted to be able to offer two different types of feline diagnostic imaging to our adorable patients. These are as follow:


Also known as radiographs, x-rays for pets are the same as they are for humans. A special, focused beam of light will take internal pictures so that our veterinary team can assess the targeted part of your pet’s body. Although most people associate x-rays with broken bones, they can also be used to check out your pet’s organs to see if there are any abnormalities with their size, shape and more.

In the past, people have been concerned with the levels of radiation used to take x-rays. However, modern x-rays performed with the proper precautions are considered to be extremely safe. The procedure involves your pet being positioned carefully onto the x-ray table and the machine is placed so that the x-ray beam targets only the area of interest. You will need to be outside the room so that the images can be taken, so that you are not unnecessarily affected by the low levels of radiation used. It takes just a few minutes to capture the x-rays which are digitally processed onto our servers for safe storage and so that they can be accessed by our professionals at any time.


Ultrasounds are well-known for being used in pregnancy, but they are a useful diagnostic tool for evaluating your pet’s internal organs, including her heart, lungs, liver, kidneys and reproductive system. Unlike x-rays, which just show the outside of the organs, ultrasounds can provide us with crystal-clear images of the inside of the organs. As such, ultrasounds are often carried out in addition to x-rays.

The process is very simple and straightforward. A little of your cat’s fur will be shaved over the area of interest so that the ultrasound probe can make effective contact with the skin. A little conductive gel is applied, and the probe is pressed gently against your pet’s body, emitting digital sound waves that will be converted into images on the screen. As well as being seen in real-time, the images are stored digitally. By moving the probe around, we will be able to see the necessary area from various angles, giving us a comprehensive look at what is happening inside your pet’s organs.

Will imaging tests hurt my pet?

This is something that concerns many pet owners, who are worried that any sort of process might be painful or frightening for their pet. Fortunately, the vast majority of imaging tests are non-invasive and completely painless. Nevertheless, in many instances, we will still require your cat to be under the effects of an anesthetic and sedation, or potentially even a general anesthetic. This is because animals, including the smartest and best-behaved cats, do not understand the necessity of remaining completely still for the images to be clear. And while every effort is made to keep your pet as calm and comfortable as possible, the very nature of veterinary visits means stress and anxiety and animals are even less likely to be able to remain still if they are anxious at being at our veterinary offices.

If you have further questions about diagnostic imaging for your pet, please don’t hesitate to get in touch with us by calling our offices in La Mesa, CA.