Body imaging encompasses imaging of the whole body, for example DEXA evaluation to determine body composition and imaging of specific organs or systems such as the prostate or the musculoskeletal system or a disease process such as cancer. The imaging modality, or modalities, chosen depend on the specific research question that is being answered. With our team of a veterinary radiologist supported by medical physicists and other scientists we are able to provide support in determining the best approach to provide the required data.
Whole body imaging protocols are used for assessing the effects of therapeutics on metabolism and feeding behavior. Using dual energy x-ray absorptiometry (DEXA) body composition can be determined non invasively in longitudinal studies. These studies give body composition in terms of the percentage of fat, lean and bone tissue. Body composition is an important component in obesity studies.
In addition to DEXA evaluations we are able to provide whole body MRI evaluations with segmentation of the fat depots into the visceral and subcutaneous components. As with all of our imaging studies, project specific image processing routines can be developed if required. For obesity studies we can also provide echocardiography of dogs to identify cardiac disease as a side effect of interventions. Planar nuclear medicine techniques are an example of whole body imaging that can be used for a number of different studies including first pass pharmacokinetic studies.
Several imaging protocols can be used to quantify the efficacy of new therapeutics. These can be conventional anatomic measures of tumor size using MRI, ultrasound or radiographs. Other functional measures that can be used on a quantitative basis pre and post treatment as a measure of the therapeutic effect of a new agent include:
- FDG PET imaging of glucose metabolism in tumors. Reduced glucose metabolism is a measure of therapeutic success.
- Dynamic contrast enhanced MRI to quantify effect of agents on angiogenesis. Reduced angiogenesis is a measure of therapeutic success
Depending on the research question to be answered several different imaging modalities can be used in musculoskeletal imaging. Magnetic Resonance Imaging provides images of the greatest range of tissues including bone marrow and changes in the internal structure of a joint, including articular cartilage changes, whereas CT can provide detailed images of bone structure.
Our range of magnets available allows MR imaging of beagles at up to 9.4T. Plain radiographs can illustrate basic morphometric changes with either contrast radiography or ultrasound adding details of the internal structure of joints. Nuclear medicine studies provide quantitative information on bone metabolic turnover and studies can be focused on a specific area or can include the entire skeletal system.
Our comprehensive imaging capabilities allow evaluation of any organ or body system. In addition to the sophisticated cross sectional imaging modalities we have extensive experience in plain and contrast radiography and ultrasound, including endocavitory, evaluation. These modalities continue to have applications in the development of new therapeutic applications and we can help you to select the most appropriate and cost effective imaging method for your study. Morphometric measures can be made from the images and some measures of echogencitiy can be made from ultrasound images.