Many of us have heard the term CAT scan, or the more correct term CT scan, but do you really know what it is? Here at Sugar Land Veterinary Specialists, we are lucky to have the ability to offer CT scans for your furry family members and we recently acquired a new CT machine which will make having a scan even faster and more informative.
So what exactly is a CT scan?
A CT scan (which stands for Computed Tomography) uses x-ray beams to take pictures of the patient as they go through the “donut hole” in the middle. The scanner moves around the patient in a circle taking pictures in all directions. These xray beams scan though different parts of the body such as bone, muscle, and organs to create images based on their penetration. These images are then sent to a computer which puts them all together to give us a 3-dimensional image of the area being scanned. In this way, we can get a very detailed picture of what is going on inside the body.
CT scans are great for looking at problems with bones or muscles. A CT scan is also good for looking at damage to internal organs, problems with blood vessels, or for to look for evidence of cancer.
Unlike people who can be asked to sit VERY still for a CT scan, our patients often have to be anesthetized. For this reason, it may be recommended that some preliminary blood tests or other testing be done before hand to be sure that your pet is as healthy as possible for anesthesia.
What’s the big deal about our new CT scanner?
Our new CT machine is a 16-slice scanner which means that it takes 16 pictures of the patient every time the beam circles the patient which is every 0.4 seconds! The result is that scans are three to four times faster than conventional CT scanners so our patients are under anesthesia for less time. In some cases, CT studies may even be done with only a sedative! In addition, the quality of the images offers much greater detail than what we can see with regular x-rays or conventional CT scanners.
If your family veterinarian thinks that your pet would benefit from a CT scan, they may refer you to us. If that happens, rest assured that the specialist that you see at SLVS will go over your pet’s individual case and discuss all possible diagnostic options with you to ensure that you and your furry family member are taking the right steps to find the source of the problem.
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Sugar Land Team