AI Radiography: Where Artificial Intelligence Meets Vet Care

Veterinarian hand pointing to an x-ray of a dog on a tablet with AI technology. Small long-hair chihuahua in background.

There is no doubt that veterinarians have a tough job to do. From caring for animals of all sizes and species to having patients that cannot speak, vets adapt and overcome while providing life-saving medical care. The latest breakthrough that many veterinarians are using to give themselves an advantage is artificial intelligence-supported diagnostics in the exam room. AI radiography tools have become one of the most popular technological advancements in veterinary clinics.

Artificial intelligence radiography has changed the way veterinarians provide care and run their practice’s day-to-day operations. To celebrate this astounding use of AI, we wanted to shine some light on how AI radiography works and improves veterinary care.

What Is Artificial Intelligence Radiography?

AI radiography is a process of taking an x-ray and using artificial intelligence through software to analyze the image for maladies for accurate and prompt diagnosis. Through machine learning, the software detects or interprets the radiographs for abnormalities, and provides a report to the veterinary staff.

In the world of healthcare AI, radiography has been a pioneer and has the highest rates of adoption within U.S. practices [1].

How Veterinary AI Radiography Works

Artificial intelligence radiography is considered interpretive machine learning technology. This technology takes extensive trials and programming to turn code into a smart ‘bot’ with the capabilities of a radiography specialist.

AI radiography uses a digital application or software that uses deep learning to acquire the information and skills to accurately analyze x-rays. Through deep learning, the software trains with healthcare specialists to learn how to identify health issues that may indicate disease. The software then translates this learning into algorithms that can be used to identify abnormalities in x-rays in future cases.

In practice, AI radiography software is an interactive computer application. After the software rapidly analyzes the radiograph images (often in about 2 to 5 minutes), it will provide the veterinarian with a report. From there, the vet or veterinary technician will review the findings and provide their assessment to their client along with an AI-informed approach to treatment if needed.

Does AI Radiography Work?

Alt text: Female radiography veterinarian holding radiography of a dog up to the x-ray lightbox.

The question that always arises when it comes to Ai is, “Can it truly learn to identify medical maladies as well as a person?” And the answer is “yes,” keeping in mind that AI radiography works best as a tool for veterinarians and veterinary technicians. As of now, AI radiography works best in conjunction with a trained veterinarian.

What Are AI X-Rays Used to Diagnose

AI radiography has been used to diagnose any issues a typical x-ray with human interpretation could analyze. However, this technology truly shines when it comes to looking at areas of the body that can cause visual confusion, such as the chest and mouth. 

What Are the Benefits of AI-Supported Radiography?

Two white female veterinary workers in the exam room: one holding a black cat, the other holding up an x-ray to the light.

The field of radiography has led the medical field in the adoption of artificial intelligence for good reason [2]. Over the past decade, fewer veterinarians have chosen to specialize in radiography. This has left a gap that technology can fill.

Using AI technology has come with many benefits. Here are the most commonly reported improvements in veterinary clinics:

  1. Efficiency in care: For practices with one veterinarian on duty at a time, AI radiography software resulted in less wait time for patients and more availability of the doctor.
  2. Quicker decision making: The use of AI technology helps veterinarians by pinpointing issues, so they can create a treatment plan more quickly.
  3. Peace of mind: Junior staff reported that using AI radiography provided them with confidence that their assessments were accurate.
  4. Discovery of conditions that may have been overlooked: Many veterinary practices report that the use of AI radiography helps catch maladies that may be overlooked. Since the software scans the entire image rather than just the targeted location, it can pick up issues on the periphery. For example, while assessing a dog for a bone break, the software may pick up on evidence of bladder stone or arthritis. 
  5. A competitive edge: Customers report greater satisfaction from clinics with AI-assisted radiography 

Are There Any Drawbacks to Using AI Radiography?

As AI technology progresses, we can expect greater accuracy in AI interpretation of x-rays. As of now, this tool’s reports need to be verified by a doctor. And the input from the doctor as to what the machine learning software is looking for needs to be accurate for best results.

Additionally, most AI radiography software is only trained to interpret images of cats and dogs. This leaves large animal vets and exotic veterinary specialists out of the conversation.

Artificial Intelligence: A Smart Choice for Veterinary Radiography

AI radiography has been adopted by thousands of veterinary practices across the U.S., and as more feedback pours into the manufacturers of this technology, the capabilities of the software continue to adapt and improve. Additionally, AI companies are developing more advanced AI technology for large practitioners. This will surely result in better care for pet patients along with higher efficiency and less stress for veterinarians and their practices.

Learn more about veterinary novel devices that are changing the face of veterinary care by visiting the Animal Health Innovations website.



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