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Veterinary Diagnostics: X-rays & CT Scans for Dogs & Cats

If your dog or cat is booked for diagnostic services, you may wonder how the appointment will work. Below, our vets share what you can expect when you bring your dog for veterinary diagnostic imaging, such as X-rays and CT scans, at our Cumming laboratory.

CT Scans & X-rays for Pets

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. 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 configures 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 surgical planning.

An X-ray is a quick, painless procedure that generates images of the internal organs in your dog or cat's body, primarily the bones. X-rays penetrate the body and are absorbed in various amounts based on the material density they must traverse.

What can you expect when your pet has diagnostic imaging?

X-raying and CT scanning pets involves sedating your pet to keep them still during the procedure. They are then placed on a table and positioned appropriately for the X-ray or CT scan. The technician will operate the machine from a separate room to minimize radiation exposure.

For X-rays, a small dose of radiation is emitted through the pet's body, creating an image on a film or digital screen. For CT scans, multiple X-ray images are taken from different angles and compiled by a computer to create detailed cross-sectional images of the pet's internal structures. Both procedures are non-invasive and typically only take a few minutes to complete.

Do pets need to be sedated for veterinary X-rays or CT scans?

Sedation may occasionally be necessary for a clear X-ray. However, it won't be necessary if your dog or cat is at ease, not in too much discomfort, and able to lie comfortably still during the X-ray or CT scan.

However, sedation will be suggested if your dog or cat is jittery, anxious, or in pain. This is because the dog or cat's muscles must be relaxed to obtain a clear image of the skull, teeth, or spine when using an X-ray.

A CT scan is a very safe procedure. Like an X-ray, it uses ionizing radiation, but at doses that are not harmful to pets.

What can dog or cat X-rays & CT scans help vets diagnose?

X-rays are among the most helpful and frequently used tools in veterinary healthcare. They can help vets view your pet's bones, tissues, and internal organs to diagnose broken bones, bladder stones, swallowing foreign objects, and more.

Veterinarians can diagnose conditions like heart disease or cancer using X-ray images to identify certain tumors, pregnancy, and enlarged organs. However, X-ray technology cannot provide a detailed image of organs, tissues, or ligaments. In these situations, other types of diagnostic imaging, like MRIs and ultrasounds, are more useful. By letting you know how many puppies or kittens your pet is carrying and whether a C-section might be necessary for any reason, an X-ray of a pregnant pet can also help you prepare for the birth of the puppies or kittens.

The CT scanner's high-resolution images allow us to examine your pet's anatomy in great detail, which is impossible with traditional X-rays. CT scanners meticulously detail bony and soft tissue structures in the body.

How can I prepare for my dog or cat's X-ray or CT scan appointment?

Often, an X-ray and CT scan are done when the animal is brought in to have an issue looked at by the vet. For that reason, no preparation is required. If your pet has an X-ray or CT scan booked ahead of time, your vet will provide all the instructions you will need for the day of the procedure.

Are X-rays & CT scans safe for dogs & cats?

While X-rays and CT scanners are generally considered safe for dogs and cats, radiation is involved. As a result, X-rays and CT scans are typically used as diagnostic tools only occasionally. In some cases, veterinarians will use X-ray technology to determine a cat or dog's pregnancy. However, other types of imaging, such as ultrasounds, could be used in that situation.

Speak with your veterinarian if you have any concerns about the use of X-ray or CT scanner technology and the health of your dog or cat. They can explain the risks versus the benefits in your dog's and cat's specific case.

How much will my dog or cat's X-rays or CT scan cost?

The cost of your dog's or cat's X-rays will be determined by various factors, including the size of your pet, the area being X-rayed, whether sedation was used, the type of clinic, the location of your veterinary clinic, and more. If you are concerned about the cost of your cat or dog's X-rays, consult your veterinarian before proceeding. CT scans are the same. The cost will vary depending on what needs to be done to your pet.

Our Veterinary Diagnostics Laboratory in Cumming

Our veterinary team uses advanced tools to help diagnose your pet's medical issues. We offer a variety of services using our veterinary diagnostics laboratory, from digital radiology to ultrasound and cold lasers.

Our diagnostic imaging capabilities allow us to diagnose pets and offer immediate treatment options efficiently. Whatever symptoms your pet shows, our veterinary team in Cumming will get to the bottom of it.

Note: The advice provided in this post is intended for informational purposes and does not constitute medical advice regarding pets. Please make an appointment with your vet for an accurate diagnosis of your pet's condition.

We are equipped with the diagnostic technology needed to quickly and accurately diagnose your pet. Contact our Cumming vets today for an appointment.

New Patients Welcome

Crestview Animal Hospital & Emergency is always welcoming new patients! Our Cumming vets provide veterinary services designed to promote good health and longevity. Get in touch today to book your pet's first appointment.

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