Welcome to the VCA West Los Angeles Animal Hospital's Interventional Radiology Department!
Interventional Radiology and Interventional Cardiology are well-established procedures in human medicine. VCA West Los Angeles Animal Hospital implements a complete interventional service including procedures dealing with the urologic, respiratory, oncologic, hepatic, and cardiac systems. Our interventional veterinarians perform procedures currently used in people and veterinary medicine, tailored specifically to each pet. Examples of the diseases treated here at our hospital include:
- Ureteral and urethral stones/tumors
- Tracheal collapse
- Various tumors- chemoembolization, stent placement, etc.
- Canine incontinence
- Liver shunts
- Blood clots (thrombolysis)
- Narrowing of nasal passages
- Pacemaker implantation
- Balloon valvuloplasty
- Patent Ductus Arteriosus occlusion
- Diagnostic catheterizations- angiography, pressure studies, etc.
- Cardiac/Vessel foreign body retrieval
- Heartworm retrieval
Veterinary Interventional Radiology
Interventional radiology (IR) involves the use of advanced imaging modalities (CT scan, fluoroscopy) to identify specific structures (vessels, etc.) for diagnostic use. These images can then be used to help guide treatment plans for a variety of diseases such as liver shunts, blood clots, tumors. Interventional radiology utilizes a minimally invasive approach to perform traditional procedures in a non-surgical manner.
IR procedures have the potential to provide alternatives for our patients in whom conventional therapies are declined, not indicated, or associated with excessive morbidity or mortality. Minimally invasive approaches can be used in patients of all sizes and is associated with:
- Decreased post-procedure discomfort
- Decreased infection rates
- Shorter anesthesia times
- Reduced hospital stays
Veterinary Interventional Cardiology
Interventional cardiology (IC) refers to the diagnosis and treatment of cardiovascular diseases via a minimally-invasive approach (through peripheral vessels). Small incisions (approximately 1 inch long) are made over blood vessels, and specialized catheters are placed in central blood vessels and/or cardiac chambers. This minimally-invasive approach dramatically reduces pain and recovery times, and obviates the need for cardiac bypass.
Please contact Dr. Justin Allen, Head of Interventional Cardiology at 310-473-2951 with any Cardiac-related questions. Dr. Allen is available for consultations and procedures Friday-Mondays.
Veterinary Endourology, Respiratory and Oncologic Procedures
These procedures include some of the most common uses for IR such as tracheal stenting for collapse and ureteral stenting/bypass and urethral stenting for non-malignant (calculi) and malignant (tumor) diseases. IR can also be utilized for chemoembolization of non-resectable tumors (liver, prostate, etc.) or palliative stenting for malignant obstructions (prostatic, urethral, cardiac, liver, etc.). These options allow for treatment in patients with various conditions that may not be amenable to standard therapies, cause excessive morbidity (discomfort), cost or poor prognosis.
Please contact Dr. Nicole Buote, Head of Interventional Radiology at 310-473-2951 with any Endourology/Respiratory/Oncologic cases or questions. Dr. Buote is available for consultations Wed-Saturdays and is available for procedures 7 days a week.
Many of these IR and IC procedures are considered the standard-of-care in human medicine, and the use of these techniques in veterinary medicine is expanding. These procedures allow for more time spent with your loved one with little to no down time and minimal discomfort. Please contact us if you have any questions regarding the use of Interventional Radiology/Cardiology techniques for your pet.
Doctors in the Interventional Radiology/Cardiology service:
Dr. Nicole Buote, DVM, DACVS, Chief of Surgery
Dr. Nathan Peterson, DVM, DACVECC, Head of Emergency Critical Care Department
Dr. Justin Allen, DVM, DACVIM (Cardiology)
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 is a Veterinary Radiologist?
A board certified specialist in veterinary radiology is a licensed veterinarian who has obtained intensive, additional training in all aspects of radiology, such as radiographs (x-rays), ultrasonography, CT, MRI, nuclear medicine, fluoroscopy, and biopsy techniques. A veterinary radiologist is trained to make optimal use of sophisticated, high tech equipment that can aid in the diagnosis and proper treatment of many serious diseases.
Specialists in veterinary radiology typically work in support of general practitioner veterinarians and other specialists. The signs of disease on a veterinary x-ray or ultrasound are often very subtle. It can take significant expertise to read these subtle signs. However, they are less likely to be missed or misinterpreted if an expert in veterinary radiology is consulted.
- Why Does My Pet Need To Be Referred To A Veterinary Radiologist?
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
- Provide additional expertise or a second opinion by reviewing routine x-rays, ultrasounds, etc.
- Assist in performing biopsies or fine needle aspirates
When a pet needs a CT scan, an MRI, or radiation treatment, these types of sophisticated medical services are generally only available at specialty veterinary hospital or universities staffed by boarded specialists. Due to the expense of the equipment and the specialized training required, these types of services are generally available only at such referral facilities.
While your general practitioner veterinarian can handle many aspects of your pet's care, just as in human medicine, there is sometimes a need for the attention of a specialist to work in tandem with the doctor as veterinary radiologists typically do. You can be assured that a veterinarian who knows when to refer you and your pet for more specialized diagnostic work or treatment is one that is caring and committed to ensuring that your pet receives the highest standard of medical care for his or her problem.
- Will My Regular Veterinarian Still Be Involved In My Pet's Care?
Yes. Veterinary radiologists typically work in concert with general practitioner veterinarians and other specialists to diagnose and treat pet's injuries and illnesses. They help provide your primary care veterinarian with additional information about your pet's health status.