VCA Sacramento Veterinary Referral Center

Interventional Radiology

Welcome to VCA Sacramento Veterinary Referral Center’s Radiology and Advanced Imaging department. We are committed to providing optimal care to our patients by using state-of-the-art veterinary diagnostic imaging. We also provide outpatient imaging services for veterinarians. For information about our radiology and advanced imaging services, please call us at (916) 362-3111.

Services provided:


Radiographs, or x-ray studies, use x-rays to create an image of the body. This is themost frequently used form of veterinary imaging. Digital radiography does not use film, so it is faster to obtain the images and also makes it easy to share the images with other veterinarians. Radiographs are used to diagnose disease in the chest, abdomen, the musculoskeletal system. Contrast studies of the gastrointestinal and urinary tract may also be performed.


Abdominal ultrasound images are obtained by using appropriate sound waves intobeen received from the body. Ultrasound imaging allows us to evaluate the structure and architecture internal organs. This ultrasound images are captured in real time, blood flowing through blood vessels can also be evaluated. Fine needle aspiration biopsy is a commonly obtained under ultrasound guidance. Ultrasound examinations of noninvasive did not use radiation.


MRI is a highly advanced, noninvasive imaging modality that uses superconductingmagnets and radio frequencies to obtain detailed cross-sectional images of the body. MRI is most commonly used to evaluate the brain, spinal cord, and herbs. Patients are under general anesthesia for this procedure to ensure that optimal images are required to make an accurate diagnosis. Radiation is not involved in MRI.


CT scans use x-rays to obtain detailed cross-sectional images of the body. CT scans provide more detail than conventional x-rays. CT is often used to evaluate nasal cavity, lungs, and bone abnormalities. It's also use radiation planning. Patients are under general anesthesia for this procedure to ensure that optimal images are acquired in order to make an accurate diagnosis.


Fluoroscopy uses a continuous low dose x-ray that allows real-time evaluation of an organ while it is functioning. It is most commonly used to diagnose diseases that involve motion, such as collapsing trachea is swallowing disorders. It can also be used during surgical procedures to either watch the movement of joints or guide the placement of prostheses or needles.

Why does my a pet need to be referred to a veterinary radiologists?

Specialists in veterinary radiology frequently work in a support role with general practitioner veterinarians or other types of specialists in order to help:

  • Pinpoint a diagnosis
  • Confirm a course of treatment
  • Identify traumatic injuries
  • Provide additional expertise or second opinion by reviewing routine x-rays, ultrasound, etc.
  • Assist in performing biopsies or fine needle aspirates
  • Provide radiation treatment to pets with cancer

Often, general practitioners will consult with or refer patients to veterinary radiologists at referral practices. While many general practitioners routinely take radiographs or offer ultrasonography in their own practices, board-certified radiologists are frequently needed for additional consultation. Thanks to the magic of telemedicine, veterinary radiologists can also review images and offer consultation remotely to any practice by the Internet.

Frequently Asked Questions

What Additional Training Does A Boarded Veterinary Radiologist Have?

Veterinarians who want to become board certified in radiology must seek additional, intensive training to become a specialist and earn this prestigious credentialing. Specialty status is granted by the American College of Veterinary Radiologists (ACVR). A veterinarian who has achieved this specialty status will list the initials, 'DACVR,' after his or her DVM degree. Or, the veterinarian may indicate that he or she is a 'Diplomate' of the ACVR. The word 'Diplomate' typically means the specialist has achieved the following:

• Obtained a traditional 8-year veterinary degree (four years of college plus four years of veterinary school).

• Completed an additional three years of advanced training, including a residency at a veterinary teaching hospital or approved alternate position where the veterinarian will have trained with some of the best experts in the field and obtained hands on experience.

• Completed the credentialing application process established by the ACVR.

• Passed a rigorous examination.

Board certified veterinary radiologists may seek additional credentialing in radiation oncology, a recognized affiliate of the ACVR. These veterinarians are specially trained to provide radiation treatments to veterinary cancer patients. After completing and passing all of these rigorous requirements, the veterinarian is then recognized by his or her peers as a board certified specialist in veterinary radiology, with any areas of special emphasis noted. When your pet needs the expertise of a veterinary radiologist, years of intensive training and additional education will be focused on helping to properly diagnose the problem and establish the optimal treatment course

What Health Problems Require The Help of a Veterinary Radiologist?

The expertise of a board certified veterinary radiologist is helpful in any of the following situations:

• Surgical cases
• Internal medicine cases of all kinds

• Trauma cases (when assessing the extent of injury)

• Brain, spinal cord, or disc problems

• Tumor evaluation Biopsies Cancer treatment (radiation oncology)

Why Does My Pet Need a CT scan or MRI?

Some areas of your pet's body are difficult to view with conventional radiographic techniques. Both CT and MRI can sometimes provide more accurate views or additional information that would not be available through routine radiography. All diagnostic imaging techniques'"CT, MRI, radiographs, ultrasound'"are especially helpful to veterinarians as animal patients cannot tell us what is wrong.

How Does Radiation Therapy Work?

Radiation oncologists use a linear accelerator, a machine that directs beams of energy, to treat specific areas of your pet's body. Radiation therapy works by sterilizing the targeted tumor cells, making them unable to reproduce and grow and resulting in tumor shrinkage. Your veterinary oncologist or internal medicine specialist will develop a radiation treatment plan in conjunction with the radiation oncologist.

What Is A Contrast Agent?

A contrast agent is a substance that is administered to your pet intravenously that helps determine the amount of blood flow to a particular tissue area. This contrast agent can help the veterinary radiologist determine whether the tissue is normal, inflamed, or cancerous. The agent can also help determine the edges of where abnormal tissue ends and normal tissue begins.

If your pet is in need of a specialist in veterinary radiology, discuss it with your VCA general practitioner vet or find a board certified VCA veterinary radiologist near you.

Services Offered in Interventional Radiology


General Practice

We have over 600 animal hospitals in 41 states and 4 Canadian provinces that are staffed by more than 3,000 fully-qualified, dedicated and compassionate veterinarians, with more than 400 being board-certified specialists.

The nationwide VCA family of general practice hospitals give your pet the very best in medical care, providing a full range of general medical and surgical services as well as specialized treatments such as wellness, spay/neuter, advanced diagnostic services (MRI/CT Scan), internal medicine, oncology, ophthalmology, dermatology, cardiology, neurology, boarding, and grooming. Services may vary by location.

Our family of pet hospitals stands out by delivering the greatest resources in order provide the highest quality care available for your pets. By maintaining the highest standards of pet health care available anywhere, we emphasize prevention as well as healing. We provide continuing education programs to our doctors and staff and promote the open exchange of professional knowledge and expertise. And finally, we have established a consistent program of procedures and techniques, proven to be the most effective in keeping pets healthy.

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Emergency Care

We are located at 9801 Old Winery Place in Sacramento. Our hospital is open 24 hours a day every day to help care for your emergency needs. Our emergency fee is $135. If you are planning to come in on emergency, please call (916)362-3111 so that we are ready for you.

If your pet has swallowed a medication or toxic substance, you can call Animal Poison Control Center at 1-888-426-4435 for the most up to date information and immediate assistance. The cost of the service is $65.