Computerized tomography, or CT, is a diagnostic tool that allows doctors to visualize very small sections of a body part and combine multiple small sections to create a 3-D image. This allows the doctor to better visualize disease progression and plan more efficient, quicker surgeries. CT scans are useful in humans and animals and are regularly used by vets to aid in animal care. If your vet has recommended a CT scan, you probably have some questions. Lucky for you, we have the answers! Here are the most frequently asked questions about CT scans for veterinary care:
What conditions can a CT scan help in diagnosing?
CT scans are useful for all sorts of illnesses and injuries, including:
- Nasal disease
- Sinus problems
- Middle and inner ear disorders
- Tumor detection and localization
- Musculoskeletal trauma
- Spinal disease
- Thoracic metastasis (the spread of cancer)
- Degenerative joint disease
- Any disorder of the head, spine, joints, soft tissues, or bones
It’s clear why CT scans are such an important part of a veterinarian’s diagnostic toolbox. CT scans provide a clearer picture of what is going on than a traditional x-ray so vets can plan appropriately.
How does a CT scan work?
A CT scan takes multiple x-rays of a body part, or section, from various angles. The vet can then focus on just one small section, or combine multiple sections to form a 3-D image of a part of the body. This is especially helpful in tracking the spread of cancer throughout organ systems.
How long does a CT scan last?
A CT scan normally lasts about 30 minutes, but more extensive scans may last longer.
Will my pet need anesthesia during the CT scan?
Yes, your pet will likely be given anesthesia to keep them calm and still during the scan. A licensed, trained veterinary professional will administer the anesthesia and monitor continuously for side effects. Some possible side effects from anesthesia include:
- Clumsy gait
- Allergic reaction
We perform all CT scans as quickly as possible to minimize the time your pet spends anesthetized.
Are there any side effects of a CT scan?
Other than the possible side effects from anesthesia, CT scans themselves are considered very safe and free of side effects.
What is contrast? Is it safe?
A contrast solution may be ordered by the vet to give a clearer picture of the illness or injury. The contrast solution will be administered via IV at a specific time and a series of scans will be performed to watch the solution progress through the body. Contrast solutions are very safe, and reactions to the solutions are very rare.
Who will be with my pet during the CT scan?
The CT scan will be administered by a trained radiology professional. Before, during, and after the scan, staff trained in administering and monitoring anesthesia will remain with your pet, constantly checking their status. Other veterinary staff may also be present during the scan as needed.
How do I schedule a CT scan for my pet?
If you’re in the Tampa area and need a CT scan for your pet, call us at (813) 279-6500 to schedule an appointment. Don’t trust your pet’s health to anyone less than the top-rated veterinary professionals at Pet Urgent Care of Wesley Chapel.