College of Veterinary Medicine


Clinical Diagnostic Imaging: A Virtual Rotation for 4th Year Veterinary Students


Contact Information

Instructors: Veterinary Specialists at the University of Illinois College of Veterinary Medicine

Course Description

In this diagnostic imaging course for clinical year veterinary students, our team of board-certified radiologists, cardiologists, surgeons, neurologists and other specialists will teach learners to integrate radiographic findings with patient signalment, history and presentation from the comfort of their own home. This course is heavily case-based -- just like a face-to-face clinical rotation is -- and uses over 40 imaging cases selected by board-certified radiologists, to ensure learners are prepared to interpret and diagnose the most common diseases presenting to an entry-level small animal veterinarian.

The important fundamentals of radiography are reviewed, including the principles behind imaging modalities, high-quality image acquisition and radiation safety. Specialists also present the critical aspects of radiology, including image interpretation, differential list generation and diagnosis using the curated library of clinical cases.

All body systems are covered in this comprehensive course, including musculoskeletal, cardiovascular, respiratory, gastrointestinal, renal, and hepatic, in addition to others. The use of radiographs are most heavily utilized in the clinical cases, however, students are exposed to other modalities including ultrasound, CT and MRI.

Course Goals

The goal of this course is to deliver a 100% online diagnostic imaging rotation. By the end of this course, students will learn how to safely take radiographs, and master interpreting common diagnostic imaging cases.

What You'll Learn

  • Diagnose common small animal diseases from radiographs
  • Integrate radiographic findings with patient signalment, history and presentation
  • How to take high-quality diagnostic radiographs
  • Identify the safety concerns surrounding medical image acquisition
  • Compare and contrast different imaging modalities as they relate to clinical cases
  • Identify normal and abnormal clinically-relevant anatomical structures on a radiograph
  • Appreciate the breadth of normal anatomical variants in veterinary radiographs
  • Become familiar with reviewing a formal radiology report

Module Topics

  • Module 1: Introduction of Modalities and Radiation Safety
    • Welcome to the Course
    • 1.1 The Electromagnetic Spectrum is Everywhere
    • 1.2 Radiation Safety
    • 1.3 Introduction to X-Ray
    • 1.4 Introduction to Computed Tomography (CT)
    • 1.5 Introduction to MRI
    • 1.6 Introduction to Ultrasound
    • 1.7 Veterinary Radiology Today
    • 1.8 The History of Radiology and How to Read a Light Box Image
    • 1.9 The Role of Diagnostic Imaging in Veterinary Medicine
    • 1.10 There's No Imaging without Anesthesia
    • 1.11 I-131 Radioactive Cats
    • 1.12 CAT Scan Also for Dogs
    • 1.13 History of the MRI (From Clam Shells to Birthday Cakes)
    • 1.14 Imaging & Museums
    • 1.15 Imaging & Libraries
  • Module 2: Respiratory
    • 2.1 Approach to Reading a Thoracic X-Ray
    • 2.2 Upper Airway Anatomy
    • 2.3 Heart and Pulmonary Vasculature
    • 2.4 Lungs
    • 2.5 Pleural Space
    • 2.6 Mediastinum
    • 2.7 Thoracic Wall
    • 2.8 Physiology of the Respiratory Tract
    • 2.9 Upper Airway Disease
    • 2.10 Extrathoracic Disease
    • 2.11 Mediastinal Disease
    • 2.12 Bronchial Pattern
    • 2.13 Structured Interstitial
    • 2.14 Unstructured Interstitial and Alveolar Pattern
    • 2.15 Exotic Animal Radiographic Anatomy
    • 2.16 Dental Radiographs (Catch A Tiger By The Tooth)
    • 2.17 Optical Imaging
    • 2.18 Tracheal Hemorrhage Case
  • Module 3: Cardiology
    • 3.1 Heart Anatomy
    • 3.2 Heart Muscle Basics
    • 3.3 Thorax X-Ray Interpretation
    • 3.4 Echocardiographic Anatomy
    • 3.5 How to Take Thorax X-Ray
    • 3.6 Pressure Overload
    • 3.7 Heart Muscle Disease
    • 3.8 Positron Emission Tomography (PET)
  • Module 4: Musculoskeletal Anatomy
    • 4.1 Radiographic Anatomy of the Shoulder
    • 4.2 Radiographic Anatomy of the Elbow
    • 4.3 Radiographic Anatomy of the Carpus
    • 4.4 Radiographic Anatomy of the Hip
    • 4.5 Radiographic Anatomy of the Stifle
    • 4.6 Radiographic Anatomy of the Tarsus
    • 4.7 Fracture Classification
    • 4.8 How to Take a Limb X-Ray
    • 4.9 Characterizing Bone Lesions
    • 4.10 Use of Ultrasound in Horses
    • 4.11 Cranial Cruciate Disease Radiographic Evaluation
    • 4.12 Cranial Cruciate Disease Surgical Correction
    • 4.13 Saving Flits
  • Module 5: The Brain and Spine
    • 5.1 Neuroanatomy
    • 5.2 Neurologic Examination
    • 5.3 How to Take a Spinal X-Ray
    • 5.4 Spinal X-Ray Interpretation
    • 5.5 Modality Comparison for Neurology Cases
    • 5.6 Intervertebral Disc Disease
    • 5.7 Atlantoaxial Instability
    • 5.8 Brain Tumors
    • 5.9 Encephalitis
    • 5.10 Head Trauma
    • 5.11 One Box Turtle at a Time 
  • Module 6: Abdomen
    • 6.1 Overview of the Abdominal Organs
    • 6.2 Understanding Radiographic Opacities
    • 6.3 How to Take an Abdomen X-Ray
    • 6.4 Choosing the Right Tool for the Job: Abdominal Organs
    • 6.5 Gastric Diseases
    • 6.6 Small and Large Intestinal Disease
    • 6.7 Hepatobiliary Diseases
    • 6.8 Urogenital Disease
    • 6.9 Splenic Disease
    • 6.10 Reproductive Tract Disease
    • 6.11 Infrared Surgical Cameras
    • 6.12 Gastric Dilatation Volvulus (GDV)

Communication Guidelines

Time Zone

Your instructor is located in Central Time zone (CT). Click here to check on the current CT date and time: If you search for city, please use Chicago.

Course Structure Overview

All course materials will be accessed via the internet. Course modules will be a combination of video lectures, imaging anatomy cases and quizzes. Learners will work as an individual at their own pace to explore the concepts in this course. If you need help with navigating the course materials, please click on the Help Center page.

Learning Activities

Video Lectures

Instructors will present the core learning materials via high quality videos.

Imaging Cases

Students will review the diagnostic imaging anatomy cases to apply their anatomical knowledge to radiographs.


In some modules, students will be asked to read important scholarly articles.

Assessment Quizzes (Required for Receiving a Certificate)

Learners will take a Module Quiz for each module. In addition, there will be assessments for each case the learner is presented. The case assessments follow each case image. The module quizzes are located at the end of each module. The quizzes are multiple choice and true/false, and are open-book and open-note. Please note that every learner will randomly get a selection of questions. Your grade should be available right after submission. Unlimited attempts are allowed. To earn a certificate, you need to obtain a score of 80% or more.

Course Policy

To receive a Certificate of Completion for this course, you need to receive a grade above 80% for the module quizzes before the course closing date. Once the certificate is granted, you will be able to see your certificate on the course Progress page.

Resources and Support

Technology Service Help Desk Support

Take More Courses with Us!