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The Benefits of a CT Scanner in Veterinary Medicine

Diagnostic technology helps veterinarians gain valuable insight into a pet's internal health and function. Here, our Santa Barbara vets discuss veterinary CT scanners and the advantages of CT scans for companion animals.

What are veterinary CT (computed tomography) machines used for?

Diagnostic imaging significantly impacts the diagnosis and treatment of diseases in both humans and pets. With the advancements in technology and imaging in recent years, doctors have been able to diagnose and treat various conditions that were previously difficult to identify. At San Roque Pet Hospital, just like in human hospitals, a CT scanner is an essential diagnostic tool that helps vets in day-to-day operations. It allows a vet to view the internal function of your pet, to determine their health and diagnose medical conditions.

How do CT scans work?

Computed tomographic imaging, commonly called a 'CT' or 'CAT scan,' uses radiation and a computer to produce multiple images or slices throughout a specific body part. The machine produces two-dimensional slices of a section of your pet’s anatomy, assembled into a complete image. These images can also create three-dimensional reconstructions that are useful for surgical planning. Once the images are created, they are sent to a radiologist to review and interpret. The advantage of a CT scan is that we can now localize lesions in three dimensions.

What are the benefits of veterinary CT scanners for pets?

The high-resolution images produced by the CT machine help evaluate your pet's anatomy in great detail, which we would otherwise not be able to see with standard X-rays. CT scanners provide excellent detail of the body's bony and soft tissue structures.

Some of the most common areas of the body we image here at San Roque Pet Hospital with a veterinary CT scanner include the spine, the nasal cavity, the inner ear, the bones/joints, and the chest/lungs. 

The CT machine can also help a vet assess lymph nodes, the thyroid gland, abdominal organs, the skull/brain, and vascular structures.

A CT scan can also be combined with a contrast agent given to your pet intravenously (IV), allowing the vet to see increased areas of blood flow in the body. This aids in the detection of cancer and areas of inflammation.

What can you expect if your pet needs a CT scan?

To obtain high-quality images from a vet CT machine, the patient must remain as still as possible during the scan. In human medicine, patients are instructed to avoid movement and hold their breath occasionally, but this approach is not feasible for dogs and cats. Hence, sedation or general anesthesia is required to keep them still. During the entire CT scan, your pet's vital signs are closely monitored under anesthesia. 

How much do CT scans cost?

Various factors can impact the cost of a CT scan. These may include whether your pet requires emergency care or a scheduled appointment and its size and location. It is important to note that due to these variables, the only way to obtain an accurate estimate of the cost of your pet's CT scan is to consult with your veterinarian.

Most animal hospitals are happy to provide clients with a detailed cost breakdown and answer any questions regarding the fees or their pet's care.

In-House Veterinary Diagnostics Lab & Pet Pharmacy in Santa Barbara

In our in-house veterinary diagnostic lab, we perform tests and get results quickly to diagnose your dog or cat's symptoms and begin treatment as soon as possible.

Our veterinary pharmacy in Santa Barbara is stocked with a range of prescription diets and medications, providing us with quick access to any prescriptions your pet may need to treat an illness or to improve their overall health.

Note: The advice provided in this post is intended for informational purposes only, and San Roque Pet Hospital does not provide diagnostic services using a CT scanner.

Is your dog or cat showing signs of illness or an injury? Contact our Santa Barbara vets today to schedule an examination and diagnostics.

Welcoming Cats & Dogs to Our Animal Hospital 

San Roque Pet Hospital welcomes cats, dogs, and their people to our clinic! Our experienced vets are passionate about the health of Santa Barbara companion animals. Get in touch today to book your pet's appointment.

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