5 Questions for a Radiology Specialist

Radiology and Radiation Oncology specialist Jimmy Lattimer, DVM, MS, DACVR (Radiology and Radiation Oncology), answers the five questions.

Jimmy Lattimer, DVM, MS, DACVR (Radiology and Radiation Oncology)

Jimmy C. Lattimer, DVM, MS, DACVR (Radiology and Radiation Oncology), is associate professor of Radiology and Radiation Oncology at the University of Missouri Veterinary Health Center.

1. What made you choose your specialty area?

As a second-year veterinary student I became captivated by radiology because it brought together my interests in medicine, pathology, and physics. It also satisfied my interest in being involved with both large and small animal medicine. I recognized that being proficient in radiology would allow me to provide better care for my patients. Then once I entered my residency program at Colorado State University, I was required to participate in the radiation therapy program headed by Dr. Ed Gillette who is considered one of the founding fathers of veterinary oncology. My training in that program resulted in my interest in radiation oncology which I brought with me to the University of Missouri.2

2. What is one thing you wish you could tell general practitioners regarding your specialty?

Veterinary radiologists are there to help you do a better job of taking care of your patients and elevate your standard of practice. Over the last 50 years imaging has become so complex that it is generally beyond the scope of training that veterinarians get during veterinary school or even during an internship. Radiologists can help you decide how to get the most information for you and your clients for a reasonable cost.

3. What is one thing that pet owners could do that would make your job more satisfying?

In my position in an academic tertiary referral center, probably the one thing I see often is pets who could be helped were it not for the financial constraints of the owner. So, I would recommend that owners always strongly consider having health insurance for their pets in this era of increasing care costs.

4. What is the most rewarding part of your job?

Hands down, the most rewarding part of my job is teaching veterinary students, interns, and residents the art and science of imaging interpretation. Secondly, and more important to those who are in private practice, it is very rewarding to be able to provide imaging interpretations that provide meaningful direction to therapy. As a radiation oncologist, it is the reward of seeing an animal with a life-threatening disease get treatment that significantly prolongs their good quality life and provides pain relief for the patient and an easement of duress for the owner.

5. What advice would you give to someone considering your specialty?

If you are considering a career as a radiologist, you should be prepared to spend up to five years in post-DVM training before you finish a residency program. Currently residency programs, especially those at academic centers, are very competitive so you should do everything you can to get experience with a radiologist while in school and after you graduate—up to and including a specialty internship prior to a residency.

Photo courtesy of Jimmy Lattimer



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