Centretown Veterinary Hospital

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Radiology: Why Do We Usually Take Two Shots?

Veterinarians will commonly refer to the DV (dorso-ventral) and the Lat (lateral) shot when they are discussing X-rays. The DV shot is the one from the back to the front and the lateral shot is one taken on the side. We usually take two shots because each image is only a two dimensional view of what is a three dimensional structure. What that means is that if you were to rely solely on a single shot, what is happening in the other direction could be completely missed. For example, if you are looking at a broken leg, if you were to look from top to bottom the leg might look perfect despite its being broken in two. This would be because the bones overlap perfectly in this view giving the semblance of an intact unit. It can get really tricky and the two shots allow the vet to ensure that the structure is as it seems in all directions. That said, once the initial shot is taken, it isn’t uncommon to only take single follow-up shots, because at that point we know what we are looking for and know the best angle from which to make the assessment.

At the 2010 Veterinary Conference Dr. Sime attended a full day tutorial on radiographic examination of the abdomen. Recent advances in radiology have shown that taking three views of the abdomen; that is dorso ventral, a right lateral and a left lateral has been shown to greatly increase the ability to see abnormalities. The reason for this is that on the left lateral the overlaying of the organs will be different from top to bottom than that seen on the right. Therefore the view of any abnormality will be better detected on two shots rather than one and the comparison of organ position on these two shots.