CT or computed tomography (also known as a CAT scan) uses rotating x-rays around your pet to take cross-sectional images. CT machines are able to take hundreds of images in a very short amount of time. These images can be two or three dimensional and give much more detail than traditional x-rays. Radiologists often use CT scans to look at the chest, nose, bones, joints and abdomen.
VSH upgraded the CT at our Cary location in October of 2015. The new addition is a 16 slice GE Lightspeed, with all the bells and whistles. This unit aids us in many different ways with several examples listed below.
- Formerly all pets were fully anesthetized for CT exams. The higher speed of our new CT will allow sedated exams in certain cases with the decision being dependent on the patient's disease and stability.
- Higher quality reconstructed images and thinner image slices will allow precise definition of small abnormalities and give our specialists increased confidence in what to expect during surgery.
- Advanced contrast studies improve ability to diagnose vessel abnormalities such as vascular shunts and increase diagnostic gain in specific lesions such as liver and pancreatic tumors.
Reasons why your pet may require a CT scan:
- To better examine abnormalities in the chest or abdomen
- To clarify abnormalities seen on x-rays or ultrasound in any body part
- To study cancerous masses allowing for measurement of size, identification of precise location in regards to surrounding tissues, and assess for spread of disease
- To diagnose and treat spinal problems such as disc disease, tumors, or trauma
- To asses bone abnormalities or trauma in fine detail
- To guide biopsies or aspiration of masses or tumors
- To assist with surgical planning
- To study blood vessels
- To add precision to your pet's radiation therapy treatments
What to expect when your pet has a CT scan:
Veterinary technicians will take your pet to the room where we perform CT scans. The CT scan typically lasts between 15-30 minutes once the patient is positioned on the table. The patient needs to be absolutely still during the scan necessitating sedation or general anesthesia to ensure the images are free of any motion artifacts (blurry images). Food and water are withheld from the patient using the same guidelines as any other patient undergoing anesthesia. We will give you full instructions to prepare for the scan based on medications your pet may be taking, time of the appointment, etc. We have comprehensive monitoring equipment and trained nurses to carefully monitor your pet's vital signs before, during and after the procedure.
We will monitor your pet in the hospital after the scan as he/she will be initially groggy. Your pet will probably urinate a large amount due to the intravenous fluids given during the scan. If your pet returns home the day of the scan, we ask that you only feed small amounts until the full effects of the anesthesia are no longer present. Aftereffects should all be gone within 24 hours.
Your primary VSH doctor will communicate the results of your pet's scan to you and to your primary care veterinarian and will work with you to create a plan for ongoing care or treatment.