When Duke, a yellow Labrador mix, was brought into the Humane Society for Southwest Washington as a stray, someone noticed that he was limping. In the past, it would have taken the east Vancouver animal shelter a few days to get the approximately 7-year-old dog to a veterinary clinic for an X-ray.
The clinic recently got radiology equipment, so Duke — who was under anesthesia — was placed onto the exam table Thursday afternoon. Within seconds a scan provided digital images of his leg bones. Duke’s results weren’t clear, but he appeared to have a bone shard near his elbow, said Dr. Kristi Ellis, lead veterinarian at the shelter. She’ll send Duke’s information to a specialist.
The new radiology equipment includes the body X-ray, a dental X-ray and a server for storing all of the images. Since getting the equipment six weeks ago, the shelter has X-rayed about 30 animals. Previously, the medical staff had to make an executive decision about whether an observed issue warranted a trip to a veterinary clinic.
“It’s been significantly more efficient to be able to deal with animals that have potentially life-threatening injuries or significant injuries that might be causing pain or suffering,” said Lisa Feder, vice president of operations. “It’s really hard for us to drop everything and take an animal to the emergency vet or to another vet just to get an X-ray.”
It was unusual that the shelter, given its size, didn’t have any radiology equipment; the Oregon Humane Society, for instance, has several X-ray machines, Feder said.