Diagnostics and Imaging: 2017 and Beyond…

As GP vets in 2017, we are privileged to have access to so much amazing diagnostic equipment; the array of equipment available to the average first opinion vet ever increasing.

 What’s the latest on offer and are we making the most of it?

It’s now commonplace to be able to run full bloods in house 24 hours a day; some machines even able to measure T4 and UPCR almost instantly. Patient side tests exist for an array of conditions, including pancreatitis, parvovirus, giardia and even markers of cardiac stress. Tests are being made ever more sensitive and specific; we now have a whole new biomarker for renal function.

In the majority of practices, gone are the days of manual radiograph processing, in favour of beautiful high resolution digital X-ray images, allowing the clinician to magnify and change contrast to examine tiny detail, maybe even add the odd forgotten left-right marker. Designated dental radiography is becoming more commonplace too, to help facilitate gold standard dentistry in fist opinion practice.

Endoscopy and ultrasonography machines are offering ever more functions, plus amazing 3D images from visiting CT and MRI machines are allowing diagnoses of early lung metastases and brain tumours within a first opinion practice setting.

But what diagnostic tool is the most up-to-date, fancy and intelligent of them all? It’s us, the vet!

All future advances in diagnostics are welcome and appreciated and it’s tempting to rush to put them into use. But there’s no match for taking the time for a thorough history and clinical examination in every case. A new digital X-ray may provide a beautiful image of an arthritic stifle, but it won’t tell you that your lame dog has quiet heart sounds, PU/PD, or is actually limping due to a grass seed in his foot. We must also continue to ponder the difference the use of our toys will make to our patient’s outcome and take the time to fully analyse the results.

The future’s looking bright for diagnostics, but whatever the future brings, don’t forget your own diagnostic tool… your skills.

For more information, visit www.recruit4vets.co.uk