A veterinary CT scan can also be referred to as computed axial tomography, or CAT Scan or CT scan. This is an advanced type of imaging study where a veterinary patient must lie on a table (motionless) while x-ray beams are sent through the patient at various angles. A computer receives information from sensors on the CT machine and interprets that information to display an image. As the table moves (or the scanner moves around the table), a new slice is imaged at a specific time interval, such that an area of the body can be imaged. The images can range from black to white depending on the density of the tissue. 3D reconstruction images can be generated to show anatomic locations of disease and abnormalities. This information can be useful for surgical, medical and radiation planning.
Please contact us (preferably via email at email@example.com or by phone 410-614-0105) to inquire about scheduling an MRI. You should have your veterinarian(s) email us a copy of your pet’s medical record including any radiographs (x-rays) that have been taken of the pet.
Please include how soon you would like the pet to be imaged (i.e. asap) and if there are any dates/times that work or do not work for scheduling the procedure. You should plan on the pet being with us for half a day.
Veterinary CT Frequently Asked Questions
Yes, during a CT scan, the veterinary patient is briefly exposed to ionizing radiation. The radiation does not remain in the body after the exposure is completed (as opposed to nuclear medicine imaging, where a small amount of radiation can stay in the body for a short time). Due to the life span of a pet (significantly shorter than a human patient), risks of absorbed x-rays inducing disease or mutation in a veterinary patient are negligible.
This is an excellent question and there can be crossover between these diagnostic tests. Often one of these exams is better than the other. However, there are some conditions where either imaging exam (MRI or CT) is sufficient to make a diagnosis and still other conditions, where both an MRI and a CT scan are advantageous. Dr. Krimins has over 15 years of experience overseeing advanced imaging procedures, including performing advanced imaging procedures for veterinary patients at the Ohio State University (Wright Center), University of Saskatchewan College of Medicine, and Purdue University Veterinary Teaching Hospital. In consultation with pet owners and referring veterinarians, Dr. Krimins welcomes discussions on the best imaging modalities for specific patients with specific problems.
In contrast to MRI scans, CT imaging is quicker. A typical CT scan (just the scan itself) may be ten minutes long. However, the patient must lie motionless for the procedure and for that reason, sedation or anesthesia is recommended. Thus, the time it takes to safely and effectively sedate and position the patient on the imaging table, perform the scan (which may or may not include contrast), and then recover the patient often takes 20-30 minutes.
CT scans are typically ideal for assessing head/skull diseases (including ear disease, oral disease, nasal disease and airway disease), orthopedic and bone diseases (including osteoarthritis and joint disease), pulmonary (lung) disease, and more. In addition, CT scans may be recommended for animals that have implants, pacemakers or metallic devices (i.e. gunshot) in the body that prevent the patient from safely undergoing an MRI.
Due to the high cost of equipment, the majority of veterinary clinics and hospitals do not have facilities for advanced imaging. There is a tremendous range of CT scanners with newer scanners built for human patients, capable of producing safer and more detailed imaging. One of the tremendous assets of being part of the Department of Radiological and Radiological Science at Johns Hopkins University, is that the Veterinary Clinical Trials Network ia able to utilize for veterinary patients the newest and greatest imaging equipment available to humans.
Dr. Krimins is a residency-trained veterinary anesthesiologist and has anesthetized thousands of animals undergoing advanced imaging procedures. She has worked with high risk patients with underlying cardiac disease, renal disease, intra-cranial disease, severe trauma, and more. Dr. Krimins and her skilled team at the Veterinary Clinical Trials Network are able to use their combination of experience and skill, and have the best supporting equipment available for veterinary patients to ensure each case is carried out safely, efficiently and effectively.