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Computed Tomography (CT Scan)

Computed Tomography (often referred to as CT or CAT scan) is a noninvasive diagnostic imaging procedure producing detailed images of any body part and commonly utilized for evaluation of the head and neck, thorax, abdomen and musculoskeletal system.  CT allows for better visualization of many areas of the body and disease processes which can be difficult or impossible to identify with other imaging techniques such as X-rays or ultrasound.  With today’s CT technology the scans can be performed in just a matter of a few minutes.  CT images can be manipulated to emphasize specific details such as bone, lung, brain or soft tissues.  Three-dimensional images can also be created from a CT scan to better direct any recommended follow up therapy, for example helping a surgeon or internist to perform a biopsy or surgical procedures more accurately and safely.  

CT scan of a thorax and abdomen

The CT Procedure
Anesthesia is necessary to ensure that your pet remains motionless during the procedure. While under anesthesia, your pet will be continuously monitored by a veterinarian. After your pet is anesthetized and positioned for the scan, an initial “scout” view is obtained. A series of thin image slices is then collected through the area of interest. Contrast medium containing iodine may then be injected into an intravenous catheter to enhance CT visualization of blood vessels or structures such as ureters, or to sharpen the margins of tumors or other lesions. If needed, and after discussion with you, biopsy of identified lesions can also be performed using CT or ultrasound guidance.

The post-anesthesia recovery period is typically brief. The CT scan findings will be discussed with you at this time, and then relayed to your veterinarian.  In addition to a written report, your veterinarian will be provided with access to the full study for review.

Applications of Computed Tomography


  • Nose and Sinuses

  • External, Middle and Inner Ear

  • Dental

  • Trauma and Fractures

  • Orbital and Ocular Disease

  • Salivary Glands and Lymph Nodes

  • Swellings or Masses of Unknown Origin

  • Cellulitis/Abscesses


  • Thyroid and Parathyroid Disease

  • Unknown Masses or Swellings

  • Trachea and Larynx


  • Elbow Dysplasia

  • Developmental Orthopedic Disease and Osteochondrosis

  • Complicated Fracture Evaluation and Surgical Planning

  • Skeletal Neoplasia

  • Equivocal Radiographic Findings


  • Pulmonary Metastatic Screening

  • Pulmonary Masses and Other Pulmonary Disease

  • Mediastinal Masses

  • Pleural Effusion or Pneumothorax

  • Thoracic Wall Masses

  • Cardiac Masses and Vascular Abnormalities


  • Intra-Abdominal Mass Lesions

  • Surgical Planning

  • Vascular Abnormalities

  • Urinary Tract Abnormalities

  • Body Wall and Diaphragmatic Lesions


  • Trauma and Fractures

  • Spinal Neoplasia

  • Cervical, Thoracic and Lumbar Intervertebral Disc Herniation

  • CT Myelogram

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