Has your veterinarian told you that your dog needs a CT scan? Our Stockton vets explain the purpose of a CT scan for dogs and what you can expect when you bring your pet in for diagnostic imaging.
Diagnostic Imaging for Dogs
Diagnostic imaging has an integral role to play in the diagnosis and treatment of disease in both human and veterinary medicine. Over the past few years, advancements in technology and imaging have helped doctors diagnose and treat various conditions that may have previously proven difficult. Similar to human hospitals, a CT scanner is an essential diagnostic tool for veterinarians.
What is a CT Scan?
A computed tomographic (CT) scan produces a detailed still image of your pet's bones, organs and tissues. CT scans use X-rays that pass through the body to create images. This procedure can be performed in a matter of m minutes, making it a great tool for emergency circumstances when a vet needs to act fast. A CT scan shows signs of a problem after the disease has started to change the structure of the organs or tissues.
How Does a CT Machine work?
Also called a 'cat scan', a CT scan produces two-dimensional slices of a section of your pet's anatomy, then reconfigures them into a complete image to be viewed.
These slices can also be used to create three-dimensional reconstructions, which can be very useful for surgical planning and other purposes. Once the images are produced, they are sent to your vet or a veterinary specialist to assess and interpret.
What Are CT Scans Used For In Pets And How Is It Beneficial?
The high-resolution images produced by the CT scanner can help vets to evaluate your pet's anatomy in closer detail than they would otherwise be able to with standard x-rays.
CT scanners provide excellent detailed scans of bony and soft tissue structures in the body. The most common areas of the body scanned by vets using CT technology include your animal's spine, nasal cavity, inner ear, bones/joints, and chest or lungs. CT technology can also be used to assess your pet's lymph nodes, thyroid gland, abdominal organs, skull/brain, and vascular structures.
What Do CT Scans for Dogs Cost?
When it comes to providing a cost estimate for your dog's CT scan, the price may vary depending on the complexity of the scan and the study, your geographic location and the veterinarian. Additional fees include hospitalization, consultation, examination, blood work, and anesthesia.
What Can I Expect If My Pet Has A CT Scan?
Your veterinarian may refer you to a veterinary specialist for a CT scan, as this service is not offered at our Stockton animal hospital. In order for a CT scanner to produce high-quality images, it is extremely important for the patient to be completely still while the scan is taking place.
In human medicine, simply telling the patient to not move and to occasionally hold their breath is sufficient. However, this technique is not feasible for dogs, so sedation or general anesthesia is necessary.
Your pet's vital signs are closely monitored while under anesthesia throughout the entire CT scan. The CT scanners are very efficient, and a typical CT scan only takes a short time.
Following the CT, your vet or veterinary specialist will interpret the images produced by the scanner and provide you with an accurate diagnosis of your pet's condition along with recommendations regarding the best course of treatment for your companion animal.
Note: The advice provided in this post is intended for informational purposes and does not constitute medical advice regarding pets. For an accurate diagnosis of your pet's condition, please make an appointment with your vet.