The Royal (Dick) School of Veterinary Studies

Internal Medicine service designs innovative fluoroscopy solution

Vet specialists develop practical tool to help them when conducting swallow studies in small animals

Swallow box
The unique box designed by our Internal medicine specialists

An innovative device designed by a group of our vets at the Hospital for Small Animals has improved the practicalities and safety issues associated with conducting fluoroscopy procedures.

Fluoroscopy is a non-invasive imaging technique that produces continuous images displayed on a monitor, similar to an X-ray movie. Conducting fluoroscopy procedures on animals is difficult, as the patients need to stand still on their own so that staff are not exposed to the electromagnetic waves used in the procedure.

To solve this problem, our specialist Internal Medicine Service team designed a unique acrylic box for animals to stand in during swallow studies. As the box has no metal components, it gives clear images, allowing the animal to stand and eat comfortably.

Clinical success

Our Internal Medicine Service demonstrated the multiple benefits of their innovative fluoroscopy container recently when Gary, a three-year-old pug, was referred to our Hospital suffering from severe abdominal cramping. The team was concerned that Gary might have gastric acid reflux or a hiatal hernia, so conducted some swallow studies using the Hospital’s fluoroscope.

Gary remained calm and relaxed in the fluoroscopy container throughout the procedure and the vets were able to diagnose some acid reflux, but nothing else untoward. Gary is now receiving treatment for his reflux and is doing well.

Due to the availability of the live fluoroscopy and other specialist imaging techniques, our specialist diagnostic imaging teams can pick up subtle changes like the acid reflux in Gary’s case, which helps to optimise treatment.

Silke SalavatiSenior Lecturer in Small Animal Medicine
Gary in swallow box 2
The box was made lovely and cosy for Gary, who remained relaxed and calm throughout the procedure

Brachycephalic dogs

Dysfunction of the food pipe; acid reflux; obstructive airway syndrome; and eye, skin and spinal problems are more common in brachycephalic dogs like Gary because of their body shape and structure. Potential buyers of brachycephalic puppies should be aware of these health issues before purchasing these breeds.

This live video of Gary’s fluoroscopy procedure shows how kibble soaked in x-ray contrast moves from his throat through his food pipe and into his stomach

About the Royal (Dick) School of Veterinary Studies 

The Royal (Dick) School of Veterinary Studies is a one-of-a-kind centre of excellence in clinical activity, teaching and research. Our purpose-built campus, set against the backdrop of the beautiful Pentland Hills Regional Park, is home to more than eight hundred staff and almost fourteen hundred students, all of whom contribute to our exceptional community ethos. 

The School comprises: 

The Roslin Institute 

The Global Academy of Agriculture and Food Security 

The Roslin Innovation Centre 

The Hospital for Small Animals 

Equine Veterinary Services 

Farm Animal Services 

Easter Bush Pathology 

The Jeanne Marchig International Centre for Animal Welfare Education 

We represent the largest concentration of animal science-related expertise in Europe, impacting local, regional, national and international communities in terms of economic growth, the provision of clinical services and the advancement of scientific knowledge.