Valley Farm Animal Hospital is fortunate to own the only 16 slice CT scanner for pet’s in South Africa. CT is a specialised imaging technique but is non-invasive, fairly quick to run and very accurate diagnostic tool.
CT scans are very useful in that we are able to create 2 and 3-D images of soft tissues of the body (lung, heart, blood vessels, abdominal organs etc). They are particularly useful to demarcate cancerous growths in areas such as the nasal passages, mouth, chest and abdomen, and we use them to visualise very small defects in joints e.g. elbow fragmented medial coronoid process (FMCP). A CT scan uses X-rays to make detailed pictures of structures within the body, but unlike conventional X-rays, these X-ray beams are passed through the patient in the same location from a variety of angles to give a 3D image of the area. The X-ray data produced is manipulated by a computer, producing images (slices). The area of interest is shown in various shades of grey. Tissues of similar density can be distinguished, where as they would appear the same on conventional radiographs. Any area of the body can be scanned by CT. A radio-opaque dye may need to be used for some structures to enhance contrast between tissues. Although CT scans are a non-invasive method of visualising structures in the body, patients need to remain still during the examination, so are either sedated or anaesthetised.