VETERINARY COMPUTED TOMOGRAPHY
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However, due to our new helical multi-slice scanner we can take as many as 60 high resolution scans per minute! Anesthesia, and limited pre-anesthesia blood work depending on the individual pet’s medical condition, is therefore necessary. Your pet will need to be well fasted (an 8-12 hour fast is usually recommended) before anesthesia. A catheter will be placed in your pet’s leg for the anesthesia. This catheter will be used for the administration of anesthetic drugs, fluid therapy and occasionally for contrast agents needed for the study. A technician will be dedicated to monitoring your pet while your pet is under anesthesia. A variety of equipment will be used for monitoring heart rate/rhythm, breathing rate, levels of oxygen and carbon dioxide, blood pressure and continuous temperature rate. Your pet will be precisely positioned for the study required and may need repositioning if more than one region is being studied. Occasionally, even with the improved image resolution offered by CT, some abnormalities remain undetectable without the use of contrast media – often referred to as a “dye study.” A “dye study” is almost always performed for CT’s of the brain. The length of time your pet will be under anesthesia will vary depending on the extent of the study. Due to our purchase of a helical multi-slice scanner, we have dramatically reduced scan times and the duration of anesthesia needed to safely perform the scan. For most studies, your pet is likely to be under anesthesia for less than 20 minutes! Following completion of the study, your pet is allowed to recover from anesthesia while the computer manipulates the acquired data. Once your pet has fully recovered, and is once again completely alert, he/she will be free to go home.
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• Detection and evaluation of the extent of bone loss and/or bone repair of subtle stress fractures that are not detectable in conventional x-ray images.
• The evaluation of the extent of bone invasion by primary bone tumors.
• Detection of subtle early bone invasion by adjacent soft tissue tumors.
Due to their limitation in tissue density differentiation, conventional x-rays usually do not provide any information on the internal anatomy of individual organs (except lungs). CT is capable of revealing more information regarding the internal structure of soft tissue organs. Examples of this include:
• Identification of tumor spread within organs (including liver, spleen, kidneys, etc.)
• Internal detail of the spine or brain tissue.
• Differentiation between the soft tissue structures in the chest located in front of the heart (mediastinum) or adjacent to the heart.
• Differentiation between soft tissue structures in the chest when the presence of fluid obstructs their visualization on conventional x-rays.
• Detection of subtle tumor spread within the lung tissue.
• CT has been shown to be eight times more sensitive than conventional x-rays at detecting tumor spread to the lungs!
A conventional x-ray provides a two-dimensional image of a three-dimensional object. Therefore, many structures seen on x-rays are superimposed over one another. This can make it very difficult to evaluate an image, and impossible to precisely interpret it. Although at least two perpendicular views, on x-rays, are usually taken to achieve a better three-dimensional impression, the acquired information remains limited. CT offers a more accurate three-dimensional impression, which is particularly useful in evaluating complex areas such as the skull, spine and joints.
Examples may include:
• Diagnosis of lumbosacral disease.
• Evaluation of joint surfaces affected by arthritis, infection, trauma or tumor invasion. CT is particularly helpful in the diagnosis of elbow dysplasia.
• CT is unarguably the best way to evaluate the sinuses, nasal and oral cavities for the detection of masses, old or recent fractures or foreign bodies imbedded in these cavities.
• General imaging of the head for the detection of any skull fracture caused by head trauma, masses occurring behind or surrounding the eyes, and abnormalities involving the middle ear and its surroundings.
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In summary, computed tomography is a safe, beneficial, and advanced imaging technique that will often allow for a more precise and complete diagnosis of a pet’s injury or illness. The information provided by CT – when interpreted by an appropriately trained and skilled veterinary specialist – allows for informed decisions to be made about a pet’s treatment by its owner, general veterinarian, and specialty veterinary team.
All CT images are read by a board-certified Veterinary Radiologist and/or Radiation Oncologist.
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