What are PET/CT scans used for in pets and how is it beneficial?

The high-resolution images produced by the CT machine help us to evaluate your pet’s anatomy in great detail – detail that we would otherwise not be able to see with using standard x-rays.
CT scanners provide excellent detail of bony and soft tissue structures in the body. The most common areas of the body we image here atAt Home Animal Hospital using CT technology include the spine, the nasal cavity, the inner ear, bones/joints, and the chest/lungs. We can also use the CT machine abdominal organs, the skull/brain, the spine and to check for cancer spread in the chest cavity prior to surgery.

What to Expect if Your Pet Has a CT Scan?

In order for the CT machine to produce high-quality images, it is very important for the patient being imaged to be as still as possible while the scan is taking place. In human medicine, simply telling the patient to not move and to occasionally hold their breath is sufficient. Unfortunately, this technique is not feasible for dogs and cats, so heavy sedation or general anesthesia is necessary.

Your pet’s vital signs are closely monitored while under anesthesia throughout the entire CT. The CT scanner at our hospital is very efficient, and a typical CT scan only takes a short time. Following the CT, our veterinary specialists will interpret your pet’s images and produce a detailed report with findings and diagnostic recommendations for your primary care veterinarian or the one of our veterinarians that will be handling your pet’s treatment.

How Does a CT Machine Work?

Computed tomographic imaging, also known as a “CT” or “cat scan”, works by producing multiple individual images or “slices” throughout a region of interest in the body through the use of radiation (x-rays) and a computer. A common comparison to an image produced by a CT scanner is individual slices of bread that make up a complete loaf. The CT machine produces two-dimensional slices of a section of your pet’s anatomy and then reconfigures them into a complete image we can view. These slices can also be used to create three-dimensional reconstructions that can be very useful for things like diagnosis of disease process or surgical planning. Once the images are produced, they are sent to a veterinary specialist to review and interpret.