Veterinary Teaching Hospital
Patient Receiving : (540) 231-4621
Hospital FAX : (540) 231-9354
Referrals: Small Animal | Large Animal
Veterinary Teaching Hospital
VA-MD Vet Med, Virginia Tech
245 Duck Pond Drive
Blacksburg, VA 24061
VTH   Clinical Services   College Home

Diagnostic Imaging

View the Diagnostic Imaging Photographic Tour.

Diagnostic Imaging Services

ct scanThe Horace E. and Elizabeth F. Alphin Radiology Center provides diagnostic imaging services for the Veterinary Teaching Hospital for all species of animals. Diagnostic imaging enables radiologists to visualize the internal organs and skeletal system using the following noninvasive techniques:

Advanced Outpatient Diagnostic Imaging

The VA-MD Vet Med Veterinary Teaching Hospital offers state-of-the-art outpatient diagnostic imaging services for private practice veterinarians. Available procedures include ultrasonography, computed tomography, and magnetic resonance imaging. Learn more

Diagnostic Imaging Faculty

Gregory B. Daniel, DVM, MS, Diplomate ACVR
Kemba Clapp, DVM, Diplomate ACVR
Martha M. Larson, DVM, MS, Diplomate ACVR
Jeffrey Ruth, DVM, MS, Diplomate ABVP, Diplomate ACVR
M.C. Seward, DVM, MBA, Radiology Resident
Jessica Stahle, VMD, Radiology Resident

Diagnostic Imaging Staff

Carolyn Sink, MS, Medical Technologist
Valerie Vaught, RT, CT
Brittany Simmons, RT
Jen Hurt, LVT
Jen Gaskins, LVT

Computed Tomography

Computed TomographyComputed Tomography (CT) provides high-resolution cross-sectional anatomical images. Anesthetized or sedated patients are placed on the CT table, which moves through a circular opening in the CT scanner (gantry). At the same time, an x-ray tube emits x-rays as it spins 360 degrees inside the gantry. A detector array measures the amount of x-rays that pass through the selected area, generating cross-sectional images. Computed tomography provides more detailed images of most body parts, but is used most often for disease of the nasal cavity, spine, thorax, abdomen, and certain parts of the musculoskeletal system.

The CT service consists of a Toshiba Aquilion 16-slice CT scanner with an image anaylysis workstation that allows 2D, 3D, and multiplanar reconstructions that provide a detailed image of the selected anatomy. These images are acquired rapidly, with an average scanning time of 10-20 seconds, so that for some patients scanning can be done under sedation instead of general anesthesia.

Magnetic Resonance Imaging

Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) is an imaging technique that uses powerful magnets to align hydrogen atoms and radiofrequency waves to systematically alter this alignment. This realignment creates a signal which is detected and transformed into the MRI image. MRI is used for very detailed imaging, especially for imaging soft tissues. The MRI is most commonly used to produce images of the brain and spinal cord, as well as other soft tissues, including tendons and ligaments.

The MRI service utilizes a Philips Intera 1.5T unit which can be used for both small animals and horses.

Digital Fluoroscopy

Digital FluoroscopyFluoroscopy uses x-rays to evaluate structures in motion in real time. Examples include evaluation of passage of contrast material through the esophagus and intestines, tracheal motion, and passage of contrast through the heart and vessels.

Nuclear Medicine

Nuclear MedicineNuclear medicine is an imaging technique that involves the injection of a radionuclide and then monitoring the distribution and intensity of the radioactivity within the body with a gamma camera. It is very sensitive to abnormalities in the bone, and is also used in the evaluation the liver, kidneys, and thyroid. Both small animals (dogs and cats) and horses can be imaged with this technique. In addition, the Radiology service provides I-131 therapy for treatment of hyperthyroidism in cats.

Large Animal Radiology

Large Animal RadiologyLarge animals (horses, cows, llamas, goats, pigs) are radiographed typically in a standing position, using ceiling mounted x-ray tubes. These are mainly used for the larger body parts, while a smaller, mobile x-ray unit is used for the distal extremities. All imaging is digital.

Small Animal Radiology

The Radiology Section has 2 small animal (dogs, cats, pocket pets) radiographic rooms. While these rooms are primarily used for smaller animals, foals and calves (up to 500 lbs) can also be imaged. All imaging is digital.


Small Animal RadiologyUltrasound uses sound waves to provide a non-invasive image of the abdominal and thoracic organs. Sound waves sent into the body are reflected off of an internal tissue interface. Hundreds of these reflected signals create an image of the organ, which can be visualized on the ultrasound machine monitor.

Abnormalities of these organs can be seen, and in most cases, biopsied using ultrasound guidance. The heart can also be imaged easily with ultrasound (echocardiography). Although the thorax and abdomen are imaged most frequently with ultrasound, other areas, such as the eyes, brain, and tendons, can also be examined. Because ultrasound examination is painless, most patients require no sedation or anesthesia, and tolerate the procedure, well.

The ultrasound service consists of 2 Philips iU22 Ultrasound Units, which are used for both large and small animal patients. Additional ultrasound machines are located in Community Practice, ICU, and in the Large Animal barns.