Our recently installed, 64 Slice Toshiba Scanner is currently one of the only 5 such machines in veterinary use in the UK. The new machine provides for much faster scans at a much higher level of detail than our previous scanner.
The quality is excellent, providing cross-sectional and 3D images as required. The range of additional information that can be gained in regard to particular conditions or injuries increases the likelihood of an early and accurate diagnosis and allows a treatment regime to be planned.
Our Central London location also makes CT referrals more convenient for London clients.
We use a group of expert CT radiologists to provide detailed, comprehensive reports on all CT scans.
All animals having a CT scan need to be either sedated or anaesthetised. The animal remaining still during the scan is important in obtaining clear diagnostic images.
Preparing for the CT Scan
The procedure always involves a pre-anaesthetic check of the animal and comprehensive blood tests. We use the most modern and appropriate anaesthetic induction and maintenance procedures and your pet has a dedicated and experienced anaesthetic nurse on hand throughout the procedure.
All animals having a contrast study are always placed on IV fluids prior to their examination and kept on those fluids until just before they go home. This assists in flushing any contrast media through the kidneys after the scan.
The scan images are usually sent to vet CT specialists within an hour. A copy of the scan, along with a simple program allowing it to be viewed, can be provided to either the client or the referring veterinarian.
What is a CT Scan
Many people are familiar with x-rays, either through their own personal experience or because their pet has previously had X-rays taken. Computed tomography, commonly referred to as a 'CT' or 'CAT' scan, is also becoming more common. This technology has wide applications in veterinary diagnostics.
The image produced is reconstructed, often from more than 1000 separate radiographic images taken of the animal. Very fine X-ray beams are sent through the body to detectors, which then send the signals to a computer, which processes the image. The images can be processed specifically for different body tissues, such as bone, lung or soft tissue.
Our machine can rebuild the information taken to create images in 3 different planes. We are also able to have 3D models of bone printed, when the surgeon wishes to more closely design a method of fixation and repair of a broken bone.
CT scans provide better differentiation of soft tissue than conventional X-rays. A contrast medium is almost always used and is injected into the patient's bloodstream to further increase the differentiation of tissue. Unlike X-rays, a CT scan allows for tissues to be viewed beside one another, rather than superimposed over each other.
The table on which the animal is laying is slowly advanced into the part of the machine that performs the scan (called the gantry). An X-ray tube rotates 360º around the patient to record the X-rays from many angles.
Below is a single slice contrast image of a splenic mass in a dog:
Again, below, you can see both a single image of a cat’s spine showing dislocation of the spine. A three dimensional model was then reconstructed, and is shown below that. Happily, and very surprisingly, this cat was still walking around and, despite the dislocation of the vertebral body, the spinal cord had remained relatively uninjured.