Commonly referred to as a ‘CT’ or ‘CAT’ scan, an invaluable diagnostic tool when when we need a better look at an animal’s brain, spine, middle ear, joints, and internal organs.
What Is a CT Scan?
CT scanning—sometimes called CAT scanning—is a painless, noninvasive medical test that helps doctors diagnose and treat medical conditions. CT scanning combines special x-ray equipment with sophisticated computers to produce multiple images or pictures of the inside of the body. These cross-sectional images can then be examined on a computer monitor, printed, or transferred to a CD.
CT scans of internal organs, bones, soft tissue and blood vessels provide greater clarity and reveal more details than regular x-ray exams. A dye can also be injected into the bloodstream to further increase the differentiation of tissue. CT imaging is sometimes compared to looking into a loaf of bread by cutting the loaf into thin slices. When the image slices are reassembled on the computer screen, the result is a very detailed multidimensional view of the body’s interior.
When Does Your Pet Need a CT Scan?
CT scans are often used to help diagnose the following conditions:
- Neurological disorders (signs may include seizures, behavior changes, or problems walking)
- Diseases of the head
- Source of nasal discharge
- Diseases of the chest
- Diseases of the bladder
- Locating cancer and planning radiation treatment
CT scans are not always perfect. If your pet moves during the procedure, streaking of the image will occur, which severely affects the image quality. For this reason, your pet will receive general anesthesia prior to the procedure. Also, some soft tissue masses cannot be seen on the CT scan and also require an MRI.