Welcome to the Radiology Suite!
The radiology suite is connected to the treatment room and provides a safe space to assess patients in need of radiographic imaging (x-rays). Our radiology suite also doubles as an intensive care unit (ICU) by providing a temperature-controlled environment and allowing for more constant monitoring of critical patients.
We are fortunate to have digital radiography here at the GSTC. Our x-ray machine uses a digitizer to make radiographs immediately viewable on a computer. This allows veterinary staff to diagnose an animal’s condition much more rapidly than with traditional x-ray technology. Software makes it possible to zoom in on particular regions of an image, and contrast can be utilized to make features more readily visible. The digitizer also provides environmental benefits; the cartridges are reusable, and no toxic chemicals are required to process the images. To learn more about some of the eco-friendly practices adopted at the GSTC, please visit our green initiatives page!
Radiographs help our veterinary staff to spot all kinds of conditions in our patients.
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Sea turtles will sometimes go after bait and incidentally ingest hooks and line along with it. Radiographs can help us see where the hook is located in the body, indicating which type of approach is best for removal. Other foreign bodies such as plastic and heavy metals may also be identified via x-ray.
Radiographs can help us determine if new patients are gravid, or carrying eggs. In the summertime, nesting diamondback terrapin females are brought to the center after having been hit by vehicles on the Jekyll Island causeway. X-rays help us determine how many eggs these patients are carrying. To learn more about diamondback terrapin conservation on Jekyll, please click here.
Just like humans, sea turtle patients may arrive at our hospital with broken bones. Radiographs help us see these fractures, particularly ones that cannot be felt on a physical exam or that might be located within the shell.
Osteomyelitis is an infection of the bone which often develops as a secondary issue following a more primary injury or illness like cold-stunning. Osteomyelitis can be detected via radiograph, with affected bones appearing fuzzy or moth-eaten in the image.
Just like osteomyelitis, pneumonia can occur in patients already sick or injured. It appears on radiographs as a cloudy shadow in the lungs.
Sea turtles can develop impactions, or blockages, along their gastrointestinal tract. X-rays can help us determine the location of an obstruction, as well as reveal how effective a treatment has been at alleviating it.
Sometimes a sea turtle patient will float when placed in water, indicating a possible build-up of air or gas in the body. Radiographs can help confirm the presence of gas, as well as indicate gas location in the body.
Bips and Barium
Contrast media are sometimes used to make internal organs more readily visible on radiographs. Barium-Impregnated Polyethylene Spheres (BIPS) are small pellets that, once ingested by patients, can be used to document the transit time of food through the GI tract each time a radiograph is taken. Barium suspensions can also be used to investigate potential damage to GI structures.
Radiographic imaging helps more than just sea turtles patients, in fact many different types of sick or injured coastal species benefit from x-ray technology at the GSTC.
Safety is of the utmost importance when it comes to our patients and staff; several practices are utilized to maintain safe conditions during radiographic imaging. The veterinary staff at the GSTC follow all state and federal safety protocols when utilizing our radiographic equipment.
Beside x-rays, there are many other types of diagnostic imaging tools that are used to identify patient conditions at the GSTC. Ultrasound technology uses sound waves to produce images of internal structures in the body. This can help GSTC staff do a variety of things, such as visualize eggs or detect liver and kidney abnormalities. Although not available on-site, MRI and CT technologies are also used to diagnose injuries or illnesses that may not be visible via radiograph or ultrasound. Local healthcare facilities donate their time and services to provide these advanced diagnostic tools for our patients.