Image from a 16-slice CT scanner, courtesy of Dr. Giovanna Bertolini

What is a Veterinary Radiologist?

A board-certified specialist in veterinary radiology is a licensed veterinarian who has gone through intense, formal training in all aspects of radiology, including radiography (x-rays), ultrasonography, computed tomography, and magnetic resonance imaging. A veterinary radiologist is trained to use and to interpret these imaging modalities to help diagnose and treat properly many serious diseases.

Veterinary radiology specialists typically work in support of general practice veterinarians and other specialists. Signs of disease in an imaging study can be very subtle; veterinary radiologists are less likely to miss or misinterpret them.

In the United States, veterinary radiologists are granted specialty status by the American College of Veterinary Radiology (ACVR). Radiologists may be recognized by the initials "ACVR" or "DACVR" (for Diplomate of the ACVR) after their names. To become a board-certified radiologist, a veterinarian typically must

  • Complete an additional three+ years of advanced training, including a residency at a veterinary teaching hospital or similar approved position where the veterinarian will have trained with some of the best experts in the field and obtained extensive hands-on experience
  • Completed the credentialing application process established by the ACVR
  • Passed rigorous written and oral examinations

When your pet needs the expertise of a veterinary radiologist, years of intensive training and additional education will be focused to help diagnose properly the problem and establish the optimal treatment course.

Some general practices have a board-certified veterinary radiologist on staff within their own hospitals. In other cases, general practitioners will consult with and refer patients to radiologists at referral practices. While many general practitioners routinely take radiographs or offer ultrasonography in their own practices, veterinary radiologists are frequently needed for additional consultation, a second opinion, or to perform specialized studies or biopsies. Veterinary radiologists can also review images and offer remote consultation via the Internet.

For more information on veterinary radiology, please visit the Pet Owner Section on the American College of Veterinary Radiology website.

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