Digital radiography is becoming more common in human and veterinary hospitals. Teleradiology is also becoming an important vehicle for transmitting radiologic images for interpretation. The Orthopedic Foundation for Animals receives more than 4,500 radiographs per month for confirmation of diagnosis and assessment. In an attempt to overcome the problems of storage and delay in reporting time, a transition to digitized radiography was started in 1990. This study was conducted to determine the agreement of canine hip joint conformation provided by board-certified radiologists after evaluation of digitized and conventional radiographic images. Conventional radiographs from 200 dogs were evaluated by the radiologists, who later were sent the digitized images to evaluate. There were 52 breeds of dogs and both normal and dysplastic hip joints represented. No attempt was made to standardize computer monitor resolution. The radiographs had previously been evaluated and a conformation rating generated but the participants in this study were unaware of the rating. Three statistical methods were used to compare the results. Overall, agreement between assessments derived from the digitized images and conventional radiographs was good.

COMMENTARY: Images obtained by state-of-the-art digital radiography equipment would be even better quality than the scanned images used in this study. Digitized radiographs provide an easy way to share images with experts for a second opinion or to include them in electronic medical records. They can also be enhanced and manipulated to detect subtle lesions.

Comparison of digitized and conventional radiographic images for assessment of hip joint conformation in dogs. Essman S, Sherman A. Am J Vet Res 67: 1546-1551, 2006.