A computed tomography (CT) scan is a diagnostic test in which multiple X-rays of an area are taken and a computer generates a 3D view. Today, our Vancouver vets discuss CT scans for dogs and when they are necessary.
How CT Scans Work
A CT scan generates image slices of the area that is being evaluated. Imagine these areas were a loaf of bread. The CT scan produces pieces that can be lifted out, examined from all angles, and replaced. It provides far more information than a standard X-ray.
When your dog needs a CT scan, it will be sedated with anesthesia. The sedation is used to keep your pet calm and still during the procedure, as any movement will degrade the image quality. A trained technician administers it under the supervision of a veterinarian.
Your pet will be moved into the scanner after being sedated. It looks like a large white donut. The scanner's X-rays begin spinning, capturing images that will be used to build an internal picture. Intravenously, a contrast dye can be used to highlight soft tissues and blood vessels.
When CT Scans Are Necessary for Dogs
There are many situations in which a regular X-ray or ultrasound scan cannot provide the visual detail that is available through the use of CT scanning. CT scans are particularly useful in detecting issues, such as:
- Head trauma
- Nasal disease
- Lung diseases
- Brain or spinal conditions
- Middle and inner ear disorders
- Dental diseases, such as abscesses
- Orthopedic conditions, such as hip dysplasia and joint degeneration
CT scans are frequently performed on dogs with cancer diagnoses to determine whether and how far the cancer has spread.
Possible Side Effects of CT Scans on Dogs
You should not notice any side effects on your pup following their CT scan. While humans who have multiple CT scans throughout their lives may be at an increased risk of radiation-induced cancers, repeat scans for dog and cat patients are uncommon. A dog's lifespan isn't long enough for this to be a concern.
However, as with any anesthetic procedure, the patient should be monitored for a short period of time for any adverse effects.
CT Scans at Columbia River Veterinary Specialists
Columbia River Veterinary Specialists has cutting-edge diagnostics that can help detect a wide range of diseases and conditions that commonly affect pets. Our team collaborates closely with referring veterinarians to provide additional diagnostic information, as well as to manage the progression of certain diseases throughout treatment.