Q&A with Michael Bailey, DVM, DACVR, AAAS


Get some veterinary radiology insights from our upcoming keynote speaker for Fetch Kansas City

Our Fetch conference heads back to Kansas City, Missouri, for another action-packed weekend of continuing education lectures, networking, and fun programs. The conference, taking place August 23-25, 2024, will feature 3 keynote presentations from Michael Bailey, DVM, DACVR, AAAS; Lisa Radosta, DVM, DACVB; and Monica Dixon Perry, CVPM.

Michael Bailey, DVM, DACVR, AAAS

Michael Bailey, DVM, DACVR, AAAS

Bailey is originally from Hopewell, New Jersey, and he received his undergraduate degree at Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey. He received his DVM from Tuskegee University in Alabama and then completed a small animal rotating internship and radiology residency at Michigan State University in East Lansing. He opened the first veterinary diagnostic imaging center in Columbus, Ohio, and then in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.

Bailey now is the medical director of IDEXX, having worked for the company since 2016. He is on the American Veterinary Medical Association’s board of directors, and he is an American Association for the Advancement of Science congressional fellow.

Learn more about some topics in veterinary radiology from an expert in this Q&A style interview:

What makes pulmonary pattern recognition so difficult?

“Oh, you go to the easy question right off the bat,” Bailey joked. “Well, first of all start off remembering that I consider the lungs the window to the body. So heck with the ophthalmologist who say the eye is,” Bailey added with a laugh.

“There are so many changes in the thorax, but there are so many different structures in the thorax that when they start changing, you have to try and differentiate which one has the predominant change and what's the significance of it? So the pulmonary patterns—to answer your question—the changes can be very subtle, you can have multiple changes at the same time, and you have to decide which change is the predominant pattern and then what is the most likely cause or the predominant pattern, and also then the subsequent pattern, so it's a cascade,” Bailey concluded.

What are some of the main causes of upper airway conditions in pets?

“When we're talking about upper airway, let's say we're talking about the trachea at this particular time, we're not talking about the nose. So in the trachea when it comes to pets, if you're talking about small pets, particularly small dogs: collapsing trachea, is probably the most common cause of difficulty. When it comes to large breeds, actually, it's probably going to be a matter of trauma, or foreign body associated with them. Even though there's a number of tracheal problems ,tracheal collapse in large breeds such as shepherds—people have not been recognizing it, so we miss diagnose them. So now it's a matter of ‘Hey, folks started looking for it, it exists,’” Bailey said.

“There's not been a whole lot of publication on it. And largely because what we'd say are the radiographic signs of a collapsing trachea: the plane, which we see it in the large breed dogs collapse in a different plane. So you don't see the narrowing. It's actually a slight enlarging but people don't recognize it as a collapse,” he added.

What are some things veterinary professionals can look for in radiographs that indicate an upper airway condition is present?

“Well, if we're trying to decide if it’s an upper airway condition, a lot of it is going to be presentation: how does the pet present? So, the coughing pattern, the sounds of the cough, and then once we have the suggestion that there's an upper airway problem, you decide what's the next best diagnostic step? Radiographs are a very good diagnostic step and they're relatively easy to perform. I also believe that studies such as bronchoscopy are an excellent upper airway examination, you get to actually see what's the dynamics of the luminal size—if we want to talk about into the head, the nasal passages, but then down into the larynx, and the trachea and the bronchi. So by doing bronchoscopy, you can see all of those changes,” Bailey said.

How often do you see extrathoracic respiratory disease in practice?

“It's more common than people know. I call it from the nose to the toes because you can have something anywhere along that's leading to respiratory disease. We miss a lot of the non-thoracic respiratory diseases, or we miss diagnose them. It's a matter of realizing, once again, how can all these things tie into each other?” Bailey stated.

“I'm hoping that people can realize that it's not a flat two-dimensional topic. This is multi-dimensional. And you can't just throw it in on a radiographic table or CAT scanner and figure the answer is going to come out just like that. We have to put a lot of thought into what's happening. And it does require a lot of training in order to try and pull all this together. So that's why we have all the specialties that are developing so that we can have people who help our general practitioners pull together. We're a team. Hopefully we all work together as a strong team,” Bailey concluded.

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