Since coming back from winter break, I’ve spent the past couple weeks in the clinic at the school on a radiology rotation. We, unfortunately, do not have a radiologist on staff full time, but we’ve been lucky to have two radiologists come in and spend some time showing us the ropes in reading radiographs, ultrasounds, and CT scans. We’ve also had lots of rounds time with one who is excellent at teaching and has provided us with the chance to review material we learned in our third-year radiology course. Also, the radiology technicians have been awesome at teaching us how the machines work and what the proper techniques are for performing radiographic studies.
Radiographs (X-rays) to me have always been mysterious pictures in black and white. Ultrasounds are mottled shades of grey, and CT images are a test of my anatomy skills and ability to read weird views of bodies. However, as I’ve seen more and more studies over the past two weeks, I’ve started to learn what is normal and what is abnormal. It’s been a really good refresher of the material we learned last year, but also helps put it all together. For example, a dog with a history of acute-onset vomiting, and a markedly dilated stomach on x-rays likely has a GDV or some type of foreign body, and therefore should go to surgery. Had radiographs not been involved, it would have been a dog with vomiting, which can be caused by many different things. We’ve got one more week of this block, so hopefully by the end I’ll feel even more confident in my ability to read radiographs, interpret an abdominal ultrasound, and identify abnormalities on CT.