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New England Animal Medical Center

Computed Tomography (CT Scan)

CT scans are non-invasive and non-painful. Your pet will be on a movable table that is advanced into a tube-like structure where the X-ray beam can be rotated 360 degrees around your pet. As your pet advances into the tube, the CT scan takes multiple images. A computer then reassembles the multiple images to create a three-dimensional picture of the body part being scanned.

CT scan machine

Reasons for a CT Scan

Pets who are candidates for a computed tomography scan include those with lung disease, screening the lungs for metastatic cancer, nasal disease, ear disease, multiple abdominal conditions, spinal disease (including ruptured discs in the spine), and a variety of orthopedic conditions. The 360-degree rotation technology avoids the superimposition of organs and tissues that occurs with conventional x-rays and therefore provides a clearer image. In some cases, a contrast media of intravenous iodine helps to increase the diagnostic quality of the scan.

The actual computed tomography scan takes only a few minutes, but preparation for the procedure including anesthetic induction can take 30-60 minutes. After the scan, your pet is closely monitored until awake and then will be assigned a recovery space in the ICU.

The information gained from a CT scan helps your veterinarian to make a definitive diagnosis and offer you the best options for treating your pet.