Diagnostic Imaging

The CityU Veterinary Medical Centre (CityU VMC) Diagnostic Imaging Service is a specialized referral service that performs ultrasonographic studies, radiographic/fluoroscopic studies, CT scans and MRI scans. We provide the expertise of a board-certified veterinary diagnostic imager, experienced radiographers, technicians and assistants. Tests requested by other vets and specialists are performed to find a diagnosis and help them give the best care and treatment to your pet.


Our services include: 

  • Ultrasonography of the abdomen, thorax, muscles, tendons, soft tissues, thyroid/parathyroid glands and any lesions. Sampling can be performed with fine needles or with larger Tru-cut biopsy needles that allow more definitive diagnosis and can avoid explorative surgery to get the diagnosis.
  • Digital radiography
  • Fluoroscopy
  • CT scan (64 slice CT scanner)
  • MRI scan (1.5 Tesla MRI scanner)
  • Instant image retrieval on the computers in the hospital


What to Expect

Upon arriving at the CityU VMC, your pet will see one of the vets or one of the specialists. They will recommend one or several diagnostic tests that will be performed as soon as possible. We might also recommend further tests depending on the findings.


Diagnostic Imaging evaluations often include…


Your pet might need some mild sedation if an ultrasonography is needed in order to get the most out of the test.

Your pet will need to be placed on the back for most of the ultrasonographic examinations and we will clip the fur of the area to be scanned and apply some water-based gel to allow the US waves to penetrate the skin.

Sedation is very useful as you pet will be more relaxed. His abdomen will be less tensed and better assessment of all the different structures will be possible.

A complete examination usually takes around 30 minutes. If there is a lesion, a sampling will be recommended to get a definitive diagnosis.

A fine needle will be used for sampling if a cytology is requested. Few cells will be obtained and will be put on a slide to be read by a cytologist under a microscope. The samples are not always diagnostic as they might be contaminated by some blood or other cells. There is a small risk of bleed due to the sampling, but this is always monitored closely.

A bigger sample might be needed using a Tru-cut biopsy needle. Coagulation factors will be measured prior to the procedure especially if the liver needs to be sampled to avoid any excessive bleeding. A small skin incision will then be performed, the samples will be obtained, and the skin incision will be closed using a small drop of sterile glue.

The risks of bleeding are slightly higher but close monitoring is always performed.



X-rays are used to assess any changes of the thorax, abdomen, head, neck, spine, or limbs. Sedation helps to get good positioning and good diagnosis. Some sandbags will be used to help positioning your pet on the table.



Fluoroscopy corresponds to real time/movie X-ray viewing outside or inside operating theatres. It is used to perform dynamic studies of the respiratory tract, assess esophageal motility or help with surgical interventions.


CT scan

CT scan uses a combination of X-rays and a computer to create pictures of the organs, bones and other tissues. It shows much more details than a regular X-ray and it allows 3D reconstruction. Contrast media can be used to show any vascularized lesions or organs.

It is usually done under general anesthesia as any movement could create artefacts and the study would not give as much information.


MRI scan

MRI scanning uses a strong magnetic field and radio waves to create detailed images of the organs and tissues within the body. It is the modality of choice for patients with brain or spinal cord disease but also for musculoskeletal diseases. Contrast studies can be performed to better see the vascularized structures and lesions.

We have a large range of MRI coils to adapt to all the different shapes and sizes of the patients.

We will check before we do MRI that your pet has no metallic implants and we might have to remove and replace the microchip if we need to scan the neck to prevent visualization of artefacts.