If your dog or cat is scheduled for an X-ray or CT scan, you may wonder what the appointment will be like and how to prepare for it. Below, our veterinarians in Babcock Ranch discuss what you can expect when you bring your dog to us for an X-ray.
About CT Scans and X-rays On Cats And Dogs
CT imaging, also known as "CT" or "CAT scan," works by producing multiple individual images or "slices" in a region of interest in the body through the use of radiation (X-rays) and a computer. The image produced by a CT scanner is often compared to the slices of bread that make up a complete loaf.
The CT scanner produces two-dimensional slices of part of your animal's anatomy, then reconfigures them into a complete image that we can view. These slices can also be used to create three-dimensional reconstructions, which can be useful for surgical planning. Once the images have been produced, they are sent to a veterinary specialist for examination and interpretation.
An X-ray is a quick, painless examination that produces images of the structures inside your cat's and/or dog's body, mainly the bones. X-rays pass through the body and are absorbed in different volumes depending on the density of the material they have to pass through.
What Can A Dog Or Cat X-rays And CT Scans Help Vets Diagnose?
X-rays are among the most useful and frequently used tools in human and veterinary health. X-rays enable veterinarians to view your pet's bones, tissues, and internal organs to diagnose problems such as fractures, bladder stones, swallowed foreign bodies, and more.
X-rays can help veterinarians spot tumors, pregnancies and enlarged organs, which can lead to a diagnosis of heart disease or cancer. X-ray technology cannot provide a detailed view of organs, tissues, and ligaments. Other diagnostic imaging techniques, such as MRI and ultrasound, are more useful in these cases. X-rays of a pregnant bitch can also help you prepare for the birth of puppies by letting you know how many puppies your bitch is expecting and whether a Caesarean section is necessary for any reason.
The high-resolution images produced by the scanner enable us to assess your pet's anatomy in great detail - details we wouldn't be able to see with standard X-rays. CT scanners provide excellent detail of the body's bone structures and soft tissues.
How Can I Prepare for My Dog's Or Cat's X-ray Or CT Scan Appointment?
X-rays and CT scans are often made when the animal is brought to the vet for examination. No preparation is therefore necessary. Your veterinarian will examine your pet, and then, if an X-ray or CT scan is required, they will take the time to explain the procedure and what they will be looking for.
If an X-ray or CT scan has been booked in advance for your pet, your vet will provide you with all the information you need on the day of the procedure.
Will My Dog Or Cat Be Sedated When They Have Their X-ray Or CT Scan?
Sedation is sometimes necessary to obtain a clear X-ray. If your dog or cat is calm, not in too much pain, and can lie down comfortably during the X-ray or CT scan, then sedation may not be necessary.
However, sedation will be recommended if your dog or cat is agitated, nervous or in pain. Sedation may also be used during your pet's X-ray or CT scan if the dog or cat's muscles need to be relaxed to obtain a clear image, or if the X-ray concerns the skull, teeth or spine.
CT scanning is a safe procedure. Like X-rays, CT uses ionizing radiation, but in doses that are not harmful to pets. A general anesthetic is required as your pet must remain motionless during the scan.
Are X-rays And CT Scans Safe For Dogs And Cats?
Although the use of X-rays and CT scanners is generally considered safe for dogs and cats, radiation is involved and X-rays and CT scanners are therefore only used occasionally and usually as a diagnostic tool. In certain cases, veterinarians use X-ray technology to obtain information on a bitch's pregnancy, but other forms of imaging, such as ultrasound, may be used in this case.
If you are worried about the use of X-ray or scanner technology and the health of your dog or cat, talk to your vet. They will be able to give you an idea of the risks versus benefits in your dog or cat's particular case, so you can decide whether you want your dog or cat to undergo an X-ray or CT scan.
How Much Will My Dog Or Cat's X-rays Or CT Scans Cost?
The cost of X-rays for your dog or cat depends on a number of factors, including the size of the animal, the area to be X-rayed, whether or not a sedative is used, the type and location of the veterinary clinic, and much more. If you're concerned about the cost of X-rays for your cat or dog, ask your veterinarian for a quote before proceeding.
CT scans are identical to X-rays, but the cost varies depending on what needs to be done to your pet. The entire process of a pet CT scan takes between 45 minutes and an hour, not including anesthesia, so the price may vary.
Note: The advice provided in this post is intended for informational purposes and does not constitute medical advice regarding pets. For an accurate diagnosis of your pet's condition, please make an appointment with your vet.