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CT Scans for Dogs

Has your vet recommended diagnostic imaging to help diagnose your pup's condition? What should you expect? Today, our Springfield veterinary specialists discuss the purpose of CT scans for dogs, what we learn from this test and what to expect with the cost of these tests.

Veterinary Computed Tomography (CT Scans)

Diagnostic imaging plays an enormous role in diagnosing and treating diseases in human and veterinary medicine.  The advancements made in technology and imaging over the past years have aided tremendously in helping doctors diagnose and treat various conditions that may have been proven difficult before.  As in human hospitals, a CT scanner is an essential diagnostic tool here at The Regional Veterinary Referral Center, helping us provide pet parents with detailed diagnoses of their pet's health concerns daily.  

How Does a CT Machine Work?

Computed tomographic imaging, also known as a 'CT' or 'CAT scan,' produces multiple individual images or 'slices' throughout a region of interest in the body through radiation (x-rays) and a computer.  A common comparison to an image produced by a CT scanner is individual slices of bread that make up a complete loaf.  The CT machine produces two-dimensional slices of a section of your pet’s anatomy and then configures them into a complete image we can view.  These slices can also be used to create three-dimensional reconstructions that can be very useful for surgical planning. Once the images are produced, they are sent to the radiologist (myself) to review and interpret. 

What do we see with a CT scan for dogs?

The high-resolution images produced by the CT machine help us 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. The most common areas of the body we image here at MVS with the CT include the spine, the nasal cavity, the inner ear, bones/joints, and the chest/lungs.  We can also use the CT machine to 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 us to see increased areas of blood flow in the body.  This aids in the detection of cancer and areas of inflammation.

What happens during a CT scan?

For the CT machine to produce high-quality images, it is essential for the patient being imaged to be as still as possible while the scan is taking place.  In human medicine, simply telling the patient not to move and to hold their breath occasionally is sufficient. Unfortunately, this technique is not feasible for dogs and cats, so heavy sedation or general anesthesia is necessary.  Your pet's vital signs are monitored during anesthesia throughout the entire CT. The CT scanner at our hospital is very efficient, and a typical CT scan only takes a short time. Following the CT, I will interpret your pet's images and produce a detailed report with findings and diagnostic recommendations for the attending clinician overseeing your pet's care.

What is the average cost of CT scans for dogs?

Unfortunately, there is no straight answer to the question of cost when it comes to diagnostics services and care for our canine companions. Regarding CT scans for dogs, the price can vary greatly from one geographic location to another throughout the US. Other factors that can influence the cost of your dog's CT scan include the size of your furry friend and whether the service is being performed by a specialist. To get an accurate estimate of the cost of your dog's CT scan, speak to the team at your veterinary clinic. Most veterinary hospitals are happy to provide a detailed breakdown of costs and answer any questions about the process.

Note: The advice provided in this post is intended for informational purposes and does not constitute medical advice regarding pets. For an accurate diagnosis of your pet's condition, please make an appointment with your vet.

Is your dog experiencing a complex condition or symptoms beyond the scope of your primary vet? Ask your vet about a referral to our specialty animal hospital in Springfield.

New Patients & Referrals Welcome

The Regional Veterinary Referral Center is accepting new patients in emergency situations or by referral! Our experienced specialists are passionate about the health of Springfield pets. Contact us today to learn more.

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