Radiology in veterinary medicine is the branch of medicine in which doctors visualize the interior of a pet’s body using various forms of radiation. At Hickory Veterinary and Specialty Hospital we utilize an array of imaging technologies such as:

  • Digital radiography
  • State of the art 64-slice CT scanner
  • Digital dental radiography
  • Endoscopy
  • Ultrasound


Radiography can be thought of as ‘X ray photography’. The images that are formed by passing an X ray beam through a section of a patient’s body are recorded either on film or some form of digital media. Generally, the images recorded on film are viewed as transparencies on a lighted view-box or illuminator and the digital images are viewed on computer displays.

Digital Radiography

The general trend in the world is a transition from film-based to digital radiography. Hickory Veterinary and Specialty Hospital utilizes digital radiography for advanced diagnostics.

Digital Radiography, otherwise known as DR, is very similar to a digital camera. It gives us the ability to have “instant x-rays”. Just as a digital camera no longer uses film to capture pictures, DR no longer requires x-ray film. Instead, our DR unit uses a laptop computer to capture our x-ray image. This allows us to obtain clear, superior images in a matter of moments. We no longer have to develop the x-ray and instead we are able to view the x-ray instantly. With the x-ray displayed on the laptop screen, we have the ability to magnify and adjust the image, giving us greater detail and accuracy for our diagnosis and treatment. In addition to improved quality and reduced processing time, DR allows us to store images on CDs or thumb drives and to share with colleagues electronically.

Some of the specific advantages of digital radiography include:

  • Elimination of chemical processing of films
  • Reduced space requirements for storage of images
  • Ability to apply digital image processing to optimize image quality and visibility of pathologic conditions
  • Rapid transmission of images to other locations for viewing by physicians.


Ultrasound is a painless imaging procedure that uses high-frequency sound waves to generate images of soft tissue, organs, blood flow and other anatomy. It is noninvasive and does not involve the use of radiation. Ultrasound can be used to diagnose illness, characterize anatomy, and guide the direction of biopsy or other diagnostic sampling.

The Ultrasound Procedure

While most pets require no sedation and lay quietly for the procedure, especially nervous or wiggly patients may need sedation to enable a thorough examination. Sedation or brief anesthesia is usually employed if a biopsy or needle aspirate procedure is performed.

The procedure involves placing your pet on our ultrasound table and held comfortably while the doctor performs the ultrasound using ultrasound gel.

The doctor will review the findings with you and with your veterinarian.

Three Generations of Helping and Healing

Hickory Veterinary Hospital was founded in 1956 as a team of professionals committed to excellence in animal care. Our continued goal is to deliver the highest quality of veterinary medicine to our patients.