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Diagnostic Imaging for Your Dog or Cat

CT scans, X-rays or other technologies are used if your pet is experiencing a known condition or certain symptoms in order to get a better look at their internal structures. Below, our Statesboro vets talk about what you can expect during your cat or dog's diagnostic imaging appointments and what x-rays, CT scans and more are used for.

CT Scans & X-Rays For Dog & Cats

Computed tomographic imaging, also known as a "CT" or "cat scan" for cats and dogs, creates multiple individual images or "slices'' of a body region of interest. Individual slices of bread that make up a complete loaf are a common analogy for a CT scanner image. Using this machine, your vet can take a series of 2D 'slices' of images and stitch them together to create a full 3D view of your cat's structures. This body reconstruction for your cat can be useful if you are planning surgery or other intensive treatment. The images are then sent to a veterinary specialist for review and interpretation. 

X-rays produce images of the structures inside your cat and/or dog's body. The test is quick and painless. Your cat's and/or dog's bones are primarily active. The body allows X-rays to pass through, with the amount absorbed varying based on the density of the material they encounter.

What is the purpose of routine diagnostic imaging for dogs and cats?

X-rays are one of the most commonly used types of veterinary diagnostics which are able to help vets to get a view of your pet's bones, tissues, and internal organs so that they can diagnose issues such as broken bones, bladder stones, swallowing foreign objects, and more.

Veterinarians can use x-ray images to detect tumors, pregnancy, and enlarged organs, potentially leading to a diagnosis of heart disease or cancer. In contrast, X-ray technology falls short in providing a comprehensive view of organs, tissues, and ligaments. In these cases, MRIs and ultrasounds prove to be more valuable for diagnostic imaging. You can use an X-ray of a pregnant dog to better prepare for the birth of puppies. This will provide you with information about the number of puppies your dog is expecting and whether a c-section is required for any reason.

The CT machine produces high-resolution images that allow us to evaluate your pet's anatomy in great detail. These images provide a level of detail that is not possible to see using standard X-rays. The body's bony and soft tissue structures are captured with excellent detail by CT scanners.

Do you need to prepare for X-rays or cat scans for cats and dogs?

Often, an X-ray and CT scan will be done at the time of concern which means that you will not need to worry about preparing your pet for the visit.

If you have scheduled an X-ray or CT scan for your pet, your veterinarian will provide you with all of the information required to ensure that they get the clearest image possible.

Is my pet awake during diagnostic imaging?

Sedation may be necessary for certain pets to safely obtain a clear image. If your pet can lie quietly and comfortably on the table during the imaging appointment, your vet can proceed without sedation.

If your dog or cat is squirmy, edgy, or in pain, sedation will be recommended. Your pet may receive sedation during an X-ray or scan to relax their muscles for a clearer image. This is especially helpful when the X-ray is focused on the skull, teeth, or spine.

CT scans are incredibly safe procedures. CT scans use ionizing radiation, but the low doses at which they are used pose no harm to pets.

Is routine diagnostic imaging for dogs and cats safe?

Although X-rays and CT scanners are generally safe for dogs and cats, they do expose them to radiation. X-rays and CT scans are occasionally used as diagnostic tools. Veterinarians sometimes rely on X-ray technology to identify pregnancy in dogs. However, ultrasounds could be used in that situation.

If you have any concerns about diagnostic imaging for cats and dogs, it's a good idea to contact your vet and share them. You can gain a clear understanding of the risks and benefits specific to your dog and cat by consulting with them.

What is the cost of CT scans or X-rays for cats and dogs?

Several factors will determine the cost of X-rays for your dog or cat. These include the size of your pet, the specific area being X-rayed, whether sedation was administered, the type of clinic you visit, and the location of your veterinary clinic. Before making any decisions about the cost of your cat or dog's X-rays, it is advisable to consult with your veterinarian.

The same thing typically goes for cat scans for cats and dogs. The cost will vary based on the specific procedures performed on your pet.

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.

If your pet has been scheduled for diagnostic imaging and you would like to learn more, please contact our Statesboro vets.

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Statesboro Bulloch Regional Veterinary Hospital is accepting new patients! Our experienced vets are passionate about the health of Statesboro companion animals. Get in touch today to book your pet's first appointment.

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