If you have a sick pet, your veterinarian may need to get more information about your pet’s condition before they can treat them. One of the tools veterinarians use to diagnose their patients is a CT scan—and although it sounds complicated, it’s not nearly as scary as it seems. We’ll give you a brief overview of what a CT scan is and how vets use the results from CT scans to help figure out what’s wrong with your furry friend.

What is a CT Scan?

A CT scan (computed tomography) is a scan similar to an X-ray that uses a computer to generate images of the inside of the body. The veterinarian will inject your pet with a contrast dye so they can better see what might be going on inside their body.

When does my pet need a CT Scan?

  • If your pet has a tumor or abnormal growth, and your surgeon needs to identify the precise location
  • If your pet is having problems breathing, a CT scan is used to check the lungs for cancers.
  • If your pet’s liver, kidneys, or stomach are not working properly, your vet may want to investigate the cause.
  • If your pet is showing other symptoms including irregular heartbeat, and abscesses in the gums and mouth.
  • If your pet is struggling with orthopedic abnormalities such as elbow dysplasia to help plan for corrective procedures.

How does a CT scan work?

A CT scanner rotates around your pet while he or she is inside the machine, while an image processor captures 2D images that are then combined into 3D representations. These cross-sections provide a more detailed view than what you would get if you were just looking at a common X-ray.

Pets are usually held off food the night before an exam, blood work is taken, and the patient is prepped for anesthesia.

Once your pet is under, it is positioned by a veterinary technologist. The technologist and anesthesiologist will monitor your pet and their vitals from another room. Each scan is short, normally about 30 seconds, and between each, the anesthesiologist will step into the room to check on your pet. The entire procedure usually takes no longer than 45 minutes.

After the scan, a report is generated and given to the referring veterinarian hours later.

CT Scans at VIP Animal Hospital

A CT scan is a fantastic diagnostic tool used to gather more information to diagnose your pet. It can help us diagnose heart, lung, brain, and bone problems.

The VIP Animal Hospital is here to make sure that when your pet has a CT scan, the have the best experience possible. If you have any questions about the procedure, we are happy to answer them! Give us a call today to learn more.

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