CT Scanning

Scottish Vet Referrals is the first veterinary practice in the Highlands with a permanent, on-site CT scanner. This will be utilised by our referral clinicians in ophthalmology, medicine, oncology, cardiology and surgery, as well as being available for an ‘imaging only’ service to referring practices.

Computed Tomography (CT) is a powerful diagnostic tool which takes multiple x-ray images, enabling us to build up a 3D picture. Our top of the range 64 slice CT Scanner is housed in a special lead-lined building used exclusively for this purpose.

To enhance our service, we have also invested in a CT injector pump. This allows us to accurately inject a bolus of contrast agent, remotely. Intravenous contrast injections are used to highlight vascular structures, inflammation and neoplasia.

Advantages over a conventional x-ray

The scanner allows a high speed 3D image to be generated and these extremely detailed images allow for more detailed interpretation when compared to a traditional 2D image x-ray image. This detail allows for better diagnosis and treatment planning.

Some Indications for CT Scanning

  • Ear nose and throat problems
  • Ophthalmic conditions
  • Respiratory disease
  • To aid in planning soft tissue surgery
  • Orthopaedic issues (e.g. fractures, dysplasias, deformities, spines, head and neck problems)
  • Liver shunts
  • Cancers and metastatic evaluation
  • Kidney/urinary issues

The procedure

CT scans for pets work in much the same way as they do for humans. The most significant difference is that your pet will need sedation and/or general anaesthetic for the procedure. This ensures that they stay still and frees them from the potential stress caused by being placed in a particular position and remaining still during the process.

They will be placed onto a bed, which moves slowly through a motorised x-ray source, rotating around the circular opening of a doughnut-shaped structure (known as a gantry). The rotation means that we receive images from all angles. The scanner then processes the images which we can view individually or compile them into a 3D on-screen model.

The procedure usually takes 20-30 minutes, but the actual scan takes seconds, and is very safe. Your pet will be monitored throughout the procedure.

Technical details

The machine is a Toshiba Aquilion 64 slice CT, which is a high image resolution system featuring a 72cm gantry, 48 mm coverage of patient anatomy per rotation and 64 slices at 0.5mm.

It is housed in a purpose-built ‘pod’ adjacent to the main building, with a dedicated 3-phase electrical supply and appropriate environmental and radiation controls.

Indications

Indications for CT imaging are wide and varied (as indicated by the table below).

Head and neck Nasal disease
Orbital swellings and masses
Facial swellings and masses
Head trauma
Dental disease
Middle/inner ear disease
Skull masses
BOAS assessment
Neck swellings and masses
Thorax Pleuritis
Diaphragmatic disease
Rib or sternal masses
Pulmonary metastatic disease
Mediastinal masses
Unresolved pleural or mediastinal effusion
Investigation of pneumomediastinum
Unresolved or spontaneous pneumothorax
Lung tumours
Tracheobronchial and mediastinal lymph nodes
Lung lobe torsion
Alveolar and interstitial lung disease
Abdomen/Pelvis Body wall masses
Liver masses
Portosystemic shunts
Abdominal lymph nodes
Abdominal masses of unknown origin
Ectopic ureters/investigation of urinary incontinence
Complicated or unresolved pancreatitis
Pancreatic masses
Insulinoma
Adrenal masses
Ureteral calculi
Hydronephrosis
Renal masses
Retroperitoneal effusions or masses
Intrapelvic masses
Musculoskeletal/Spine Vertebral anomalies and malformations
Discospondylitis
Lumbosacral disease
Pelvic and sacral fractures
Tarsal osteochondrosis
Bone tumours
Elbow dysplasia
Angular limb deformities
General Any oncologic disease
Metastatic screening/staging
Suspect occult infections or neoplastic disease
Draining sinus tracts
Suspected foreign bodies

Scottish Vet Referrals can offer this service as either part of a full referral to one of our clinicians or as a stand-alone service.

Imaging only referrals

For those vets requesting imaging only, we will liaise closely to determine the optimum protocol. This will include:

    • Pre-anaesthetic blood testing when necessary
    • Sedation/anaesthesia requirements
    • Body area(s) to be scanned
    • Use of contrast agent (with specific timings)

    Images will usually be transferred to VetCT. This company is a specialist veterinary teleradiology service and if required, will provide full written reports in 1-4 days, or even sooner for urgent cases. For those vets wishing to perform their own interpretations, a link to the full set of DICOM images will be provided.

    Ongoing management of these patients can then be the full responsibility of the referring veterinary practice.

     

     

    Examples of Indications for CT Scanning

    Head and Neck

    Nasal disease

    Orbital swellings and masses

    Difficulties opening mouth

    Facial swellings and masses

    Head trauma

    Dental disease

    Ear disease

    Skull masses

    Stick injuries

    Thyroid masses

    Neck swellings

    Interscapular fibrosarcoma

    Brachial plexus tumours and avulsion injuries

    Thorax

    Pleuritis

    Diaphragmatic disease

    Rib masses

    Sternal masses

    Pulmonary metastatic disease

    Mediastinal masses

    Unresolved pleural effusion

    Investigation of mediastinal effusion

    Investigation of pneumomediastinum

    Unresolved or spontaneous pneumothorax

    Lung tumours

    Tracheobronchial and mediastinal lymph nodes

    Lung lobe torsion

    Alveolar and interstitial lung disease

    Abdomen/PelvisAbdomen/
    Pelvis

    Body wall masses

    Liver masses

    Portosystemic shunts

    Abdominal lymph nodes

    Abdominal masses of unknown origin

    Ectopic ureters

    Complicated or unresolved pancreatitis

    Pancreatic masses

    Insulinoma

    Adrenal masses

    Ureteral calculi

    Hydronephrosis

    Renal masses

    Retroperitoneal effusion or masses

    Intrapelvic masses

    Musculoskeletal/Spine

    Vertebral anomalies and malformations

    Discospondylitis

    Lumbosacral disease

    Pelvic and sacral fractures

    Tarsal osteochondrosis

    Bone tumours

    Elbow dysplasia

    Angular limb deformities

    General

    Any oncologic disease

    Metastatic screening

    Suspect occult infectious or neoplastic disease

    Draining sinus tracts

    Suspected foreign bodies

    What if my vet says that my pet needs a CT scan?

    We are happy to accept CT only referrals as well as full referral cases. Speak to your vet if you would like to use our service and they can begin the referral process.

    How long will the results take and how will I receive them?

    The results of the scan are usually available after 3 or 4 days.

    If a more urgent interpretation is required, this can be arranged.

    The results will be sent back to the vet that referred your pet to us.

    Generally, the images are interpreted by specialist veterinary radiologists although the referring vet may sometimes evaluate the images.

    Health checks prior to the CT scan

    In some cases prior to scanning your pet we will need to carry out some health checks such as blood testing.

    This will be particularly important if your pet is unwell or we need to inject some contrast media to highlight certain areas of the body.

    How to refer

    All CT scans must be referred either through your own vets practice or through the referring vet who is in charge of your pet.

    Better Health Care is Our Mission

    Get in touch to talk to a member of our friendly team