3 Reasons Your Pet Might Need A CT Scan

Many of the diagnostic testing tools that are used on human beings also get used on animals. One such example is a CT scan. Also known as computed tomography, CT scans for animals allow veterinarians to look inside their bodies.

There are several reasons your pet dog or cat would need a CT scan. Here are three of those reasons.

1. Your Pet Has Experienced Head Trauma

Some of the most common causes of head trauma in pets include:

  • Getting hit by a car.
  • Falling from a high elevation.
  • Fighting or playing too hard with other animals.

You will know your pet has experienced head trauma if they exhibit certain symptoms, such as lethargy, disorientation, abnormal eye movements, or a difference in pupil size. If a veterinarian sees these symptoms, a CT scan can help to diagnose the extent of the head trauma and provide the best treatment options.

2. Your Dog Has Symptoms of an Orthopedic Condition

Orthopedic conditions are those that affect the musculoskeletal system, which includes the bones, joints, nerves, ligaments, and tendons. These kinds of conditions are sometimes caused by injury, but can also be caused by wear and tear. Some dog breeds are genetically predisposed to orthopedic conditions.

The most common orthopedic conditions that affect dogs include:

  • Hip dysplasia
  • Elbow dysplasia
  • Cruciate ligament rupture
  • Luxating patellas
  • Arthritis

Symptoms of these types of orthopedic conditions may include an abnormal gait, difficulty getting up, lameness, reluctance to move, stiffness, and swelling in the joints. Veterinarians may use an X-ray to examine a dog's musculoskeletal system. However, if a veterinarian needs to see more details, they will do a CT scan.

3. Your Pet May Have Cancer

Both dogs and cats get cancer. Some of the most common kinds of cancers found in dogs include osteosarcoma (bone tumors), mast cell tumors, hemangiosarcomas, and oral melanomas. Common types of cancers in cats include squamous cell carcinoma (SCC), fibrosarcoma, and mammary tumors. Lymphoma is a common cancer for both dogs and cats.

If your dog or cat has cancer, they may exhibit some of the following symptoms:

  • Unexplained weight loss
  • Sores that do not heal
  • Abnormal swelling of the skin
  • Pale gums

Dogs or cats with any of these symptoms should be examined by a veterinarian. A veterinarian will use a CT scan to look for cancerous tumors inside your pet. Any tumors the veterinarian finds will be removed and tested for cancer. If your pet has cancer, the earlier treatment starts, the better.