What is a CT scan?

Computed tomography (CT) scanning, sometimes referred to as CAT scanning, is a diagnostic test that uses X-rays and a computer to create detailed images inside of the body. Unlike a traditional X-ray machine, which emits one beam of radiation, CT scanners emit multiple narrow beams, allowing us to produce detailed, three-dimensional images.


When do we use a CT scan?

Computed tomographic scans for dogs and other animals help us understand and identify any anomalies in their body, and are useful when planning for certain surgeries. When a vet wants to examine an animal’s organ, bone, muscle or another internal body part, they may recommend a CT scan.

Some problems a CT scan may be used to diagnose or examine include:

  • Tumours
  • Deep abscesses
  • Fractures
  • Metastasis
  • Orthopaedic abnormalities
  • Nasal diseases

 

 

How does a CT scan work?

Computed tomographic scans produce 2D images of a slice or section of your pet’s body, which can be used to construct 3D images or models of the affected area. We can also inject a contract agent into the bloodstream during the procedure which can allow us to obtain detailed images of blood vessels (CT angiography).

To ensure your pet stays calm and still during the procedure, they’ll need to undergo wither a sedation or general anaesthesia. They’ll be placed in a bed inside the CT scanner, where the machine will take a series of X-rays from various angles. Each scan only takes a few seconds, and the entire procedure is normally completed in under half an hour.

Are CT scans safe for pets?

Although all procedures involving anaesthesia or sedation carry a very small risk, a veterinary CT scan is otherwise an incredibly safe procedure for pets. As CT scans use ionising radiation, performing repeat scans using high doses of ionising radiation has been shown to carry some risk of radiation injury in people

At Swift, we’re proud to house one of the most advanced CT machines in the country, allowing us to generate a high-speed 3D image to help give your pet an accurate diagnosis. Our scanner is state of the art and uses extremely low doses of ionising radiation, ensuring your pets safety even if repeat scans are necessary.