CT Scans in Pets: A Comprehensive Guide

By John Gilpatrick

When it comes to examining an animal’s internal body parts, a veterinarian might order a CT scan. These scans provide detailed images of slices of the patient, which can later be reconstructed into three-dimensional models of the affected area. Dr. Wilfried Mai, an associate professor of veterinary radiology at the University of Pennsylvania School of Veterinary Medicine, explains that CT scans offer much more information than simple radiographs. Let’s explore everything you need to know about CT scans for pets.

Why do Pets Need CT Scans?

CT scans are invaluable tools for understanding anomalies in an animal’s body and planning for surgeries. They help surgeons determine the precise location of tumors and their relationship to neighboring structures. For liver tumors, pulmonary tumors, and other cancers, CT scans facilitate surgical approaches and minimize surgery time. Additionally, CT scans are vital for identifying or ruling out the presence of metastasis in the lungs. This information is crucial for planning effective treatment and understanding the extent of canine and feline cancers.

CT scans are also commonly used to evaluate nasal diseases, orthopedic abnormalities, and dental issues. In cases of poly-trauma, where multiple organs and systems are damaged, CT scans play a crucial role in assessing the severity and complexity of injuries for smarter and more strategic treatment. However, CT scans are not ideal for diagnosing brain and spinal cord diseases. For these cases, an MRI is a better option.

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How are CT Scans Conducted?

CT scans are typically performed at large hospitals with skilled technicians and specialized equipment. Before the scan, the patient is usually held off food overnight. On the day of the procedure, blood work is taken, and the patient is prepared for anesthesia. Once the animal is under, a veterinary technologist positions her for the scan. The technologist and anesthesiologist then step into a separate room to run the scan, monitoring the animal’s vitals through a large window. Each scan only takes about 30 seconds, and the entire procedure, from going under to waking up, lasts around 45 minutes. In some cases, a second scan may be conducted with an injection of iodine to observe abnormal iodine intake, indicating inflammation or tumors. A report is generated immediately after the exam and sent to the referring veterinarian within hours.

Are There Any Side Effects to a CT Scan?

Fortunately, there are no side effects to worry about. While humans who undergo multiple CT scans may develop an increased risk of radiation-induced cancers, repeat scans for dogs and cats are rare. Additionally, their shorter life spans make them less susceptible to such risks. However, as with any procedure involving anesthesia, patients should be monitored for a short period afterward to ensure there are no ill effects.

How Much Do CT Scans for Pets Cost?

The cost of a CT scan for pets depends on the complexity of the procedure and the study required. Scans that involve the injection of iodine, for example, can cost up to $1,000 for the entire procedure. Costs may also vary based on the veterinarian and geographic location. In New York City, the total cost, including consultation, examination, blood work, anesthesia, hospitalization, and the scan itself, can range from $1,500 to $2,500.

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If you want to learn more about CT scans for pets or need to schedule one for your furry friend, visit Katten TrimSalon today. Our experienced professionals will ensure your pet receives the care they deserve.

Disclaimer: The information provided in this article is for informational purposes only and should not be considered as veterinary advice. Always consult with a qualified veterinarian for accurate guidance and diagnosis.