If your dog or cat has a scheduled X-ray (radiograph) or CT scan appointment, you might be curious about the appointment process and how to get ready. Our veterinarians in Ypsilanti will outline what you can anticipate when you bring your pet to our in house veterinary diagnostic lab.
About CT Scans and X-rays On Cats And Dogs
Computed tomographic imaging, commonly referred to as a "CT" or "CAT scan," functions by generating numerous individual images or "slices" within a specific region of the body using radiation (X-rays) and a computer. Think of these images as akin to individual slices of bread forming a complete loaf.
The CT machine captures two-dimensional slices of a segment of your pet's anatomy and subsequently assembles them into a comprehensive viewable image. These slices also offer the possibility of creating three-dimensional reconstructions, particularly valuable for tasks such as surgical planning. After these images are produced, they are forwarded to a veterinary specialist for examination and interpretation.
In contrast, an X-ray is a swift and painless diagnostic test that produces images of the structures within your cat and/or dog's body, primarily focusing on your cat's and/or dog's bones. X-ray rays traverse your body, and their absorption varies depending on the density of the materials they encounter.
What Can A Dog Or Cat X-rays And CT Scans Help Vets Diagnose?
X-rays play a pivotal role in both human and veterinary healthcare, serving as invaluable tools frequently utilized by professionals. They enable veterinarians to comprehensively view your pet's bones, tissues, and internal organs, facilitating the diagnosis of various conditions such as fractured bones, bladder stones, and ingested foreign objects.
Furthermore, X-ray images can aid in the detection of tumors, pregnancy, and enlarged organs, potentially leading to diagnoses like heart disease or cancer. However, it's important to note that while X-rays offer valuable insights, they have limitations in providing detailed views of organs, tissues, and ligaments. In such cases, alternative veterinary diagnostic imaging methods like MRI and ultrasound prove more advantageous. Additionally, X-rays of pregnant dogs can be instrumental in anticipating the birth of puppies, helping you determine the expected litter size and whether a cesarean section might be necessary.
For an even more comprehensive assessment of your pet's anatomy, high-resolution images generated by CT (Computed Tomography) machines come into play, revealing intricate details that standard X-rays cannot capture. CT scanners excel in depicting bony and soft tissue structures within the body.
How Can I Prepare for My Dog's Or Cat's X-ray Or CT Scan Appointment?
Veterinarians often perform X-rays and CT scans when assessing animals with health concerns. No prior preparation is necessary for these diagnostic procedures. Your vet will initially examine your pet, and if an X-ray or CT scan is deemed necessary, they will take the time to explain the process and what they intend to investigate.
If you have pre-scheduled an X-ray or CT scan appointment for your pet, your vet will provide you with all the necessary instructions for the day of the procedure.
Will My Dog Or Cat Be Sedated When They Have Their X-ray Or CT Scan?
Sometimes, obtaining a clear X-ray may necessitate the use of sedation. If your dog or cat remains calm, experiences minimal pain, and can lie comfortably during the x-ray or CT scan, sedation will likely not be needed.
Conversely, if your dog or cat exhibits restlessness, anxiety, or pain, we will recommend sedation. Sedation may also be employed during your pet's x-ray or scan if muscle relaxation is necessary for a clear image, or when the X-ray is focused on the skull, teeth, or spine.
It's important to note that CT scans are a safe procedure for your pet. Similar to X-rays, they employ ionizing radiation, but at doses that do not pose harm to pets. However, general anesthesia is required because pets must remain still during the CT scan.
Are X-rays And CT Scans Safe For Dogs And Cats?
While X-rays and CT scanners are generally considered safe for dogs and cats, they involve radiation and are typically utilized only sporadically and primarily for diagnostic purposes. Occasionally, veterinarians may employ X-ray technology to gather information about a dog's pregnancy, but alternative imaging methods like ultrasound may also be considered in such situations.
If you have concerns regarding the use of X-ray or CT scanner technology in relation to your dog's or cat's well-being, it is advisable to consult with your veterinarian. Your veterinarian can provide you with a comprehensive assessment of the risks and benefits specific to your pet's case, allowing you to make an informed decision regarding whether or not to proceed with an X-ray or CT scan for your dog or cat.
How Much Will My Dog Or Cat's X-rays Or CT Scans Cost?
Various factors influence the cost of your dog's or cat's X-rays, such as the size of your pet, the specific body area being X-rayed, whether sedation was administered, the type of clinic, the location of your veterinary clinic, and more. If you have concerns about the pricing for your cat or dog's X-rays, we recommend requesting a cost estimate from your veterinarian before proceeding.
When it comes to CT scans, it's important to note that they differ from X-rays, and their cost varies based on the necessary procedures for your pet. A pet CT scan typically takes approximately 45 minutes to an hour, excluding anesthesia, which can affect the overall price.
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.