This past year, several of my amazing classmates revitalized the Diagnostic Imaging Club, which invited various Radiology Department staff to give us informal lectures. One of my favorite lunch talks was given by a radiology intern, who introduced us to using FAST ultrasound to gather information about key players like the heart and abdominal organs during critical care scenarios. FAST stands for “focused assessment with sonography for trauma.” Veterinarians and medical doctors can use FAST ultrasound to rapidly add high-quality information to help rule in or out certain diagnoses. The lecture was certainly too technical for me, since I’ve laid my hands on an ultrasound probe a grand total of once, but I had no idea we vets could use ultrasounds as a tool in emergencies! (I have to admit, I’m more than a little intrigued by ultrasound. I think it’s so cool that we’ve figured out a way use sound waves to form pictures on a screen!)
Throughout the year, the Diagnostic Imaging Club would host periodic image contests. One emailed query asked us what animal we thought was the subject of a set of radiographs—turned out it was a starfish! As a grand finale for the year, the club sponsored a guess-the-foreign-body contest, with a set of Mitchell markers as the prize. The last lunch talk of the year, a foray into the world of foreign body identification, piloted a new, classroom-wide response app. It allowed each of us to circle where we saw an abnormality, so that the professor could see what parts of the radiograph were distracting us. We saw images of a dissolving penny, a dish towel, a kabob skewer, and a diamond engagement ring, all of which were swallowed by curious pups. At the end of the lunch talk, we discovered that the mysterious foreign body featured in the imaging contest was a plastic toy spider. Not many of us saw it, but those of us who did could scarcely believe it!