A veterinary radiologist is an expert in diagnostic imaging, with extensive training in radiography (x-rays), ultrasound, computed tomography (CT), magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), nuclear scintigraphy and other specialized imaging procedures. To become a specialist in diagnostic imaging, a veterinarian must complete an additional 3 – 4 years of specialized training in an approved radiology residency program and pass a rigorous certifying board exam. A specialist in veterinary radiology is a Diplomate of the American College of Veterinary Radiology (ACVR).

For more information about veterinary radiologists, please visit the ACVR website.


Radiography remains the most common primary diagnostic imaging tool. Our hospital has two digital radiography (DR) suites. DR provides rapid acquisition of digital images that are clearer than conventional film radiographs, and can also be manipulated on a computer, similar to digital photos, allowing our doctors to view them in ways not possible with films. Digital images are stored on a PACS system, allowing for storage and easy retrieval of your pet’s studies on computers throughout the hospital. The use of DR increases the efficiency and the quality of radiographic studies for each patient.


Ultrasonography provides a non-invasive and painless method of evaluating soft tissue structures of the body, providing information about various organs that cannot be seen with radiographs. While radiographs provide information such as the size and shape of organs, ultrasound allows for the real time visualization of the internal architecture of organs, allowing us to diagnose problems earlier than might otherwise be possible. Ultrasound can be used to evaluate fluid or masses in the thorax and abdomen as well as more subtle abnormalities such as intestinal thickening or lymph node enlargement. Other organs, such as the thyroid or parathyroid glands as well as certain musculoskeletal structures, can also be evaluated sonographically. Together with your pet’s medical information and history, an ultrasound exam can often pinpoint a patient’s problem. Other times, a minimally invasive, interventional procedure such as an ultrasound-guided fine needle aspirate or biopsy will provide a more definitive diagnosis.

Dr. Crawford provides an outpatient ultrasound service to help your family veterinarian better diagnose and manage your pet’s illness.

Computed Tomography (CT)

Computed Tomography (CT) is a safe, non-invasive imaging technique in which x-rays are used to obtain cross-sectional images (or “slices”) of the body. These slices show much greater detail than conventional radiographs, and can be used to examine any part of the body. A CT machine utilizes a dedicated high-speed computer to produce the images, and allows the images to be manipulated to specifically enhance certain types of tissues, according to what area of the body is being examined. Our high-speed multidetector CT machine allows detailed exams to be performed in a very short period of time, minimizing the amount of time a patient needs to be sedated or anesthetized. CT is an advanced imaging technique that has many diagnostic uses, including:

  • Chronic nasal and sinus diseases such as cancer or infection
  • External and middle ear disease
  • Deep soft tissue lesions such as abscesses or tumors
  • Certain neurologic exams, such as acute head trauma, spinal fractures, bony tumors or intervertebral disk disease
  • High-resolution imaging of the lungs, allowing visualization of small lesions not seen on radiographs. This is the most sensitive technique in screening for pulmonary metastatic cancer.
  • Evaluation of mediastinal, pleural, pulmonary or thoracic wall masses
  • Difficult to image abdominal masses such as retroperitoneal masses, abdominal wall masses or masses involving the pelvic canal
  • Screening for ectopic ureters
  • High-resolution bone imaging, particularly for subtle fractures or very complex fracture evaluation. Also, for screening dogs with elbow dysplasia for a fragmented coronoid process
  • Vascular studies such as portosystemic shunt detection or vascular invasion by masses, such as adrenal or mediastinal tumors
  • CT-guidance for needle aspirates or biopsies of lesions in difficult to reach locations
  • Pre-surgical and pre-radiation treatment planning

Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI)

Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) is an advanced imaging technique which uses magnetic fields and radiofrequencies to generate very detailed cross-sectional images. MRI is especially good at differentiating between soft tissue structures, making MRI the best way to evaluate most neurologic diseases of the brain and spinal cord, such as congenital anomalies, intervertebral disk disease, tumors, infectious or inflammatory diseases, or vascular accidents (“strokes”). Our high-field, superconducting MRI machine is an advanced unit that is used in human hospitals, allowing us to provide quicker and more accurate exams. (Procedures can be scheduled through the Neurology Department).