What is a CAT Scan for Dogs?

The CAT in CAT scan stands for computed axial tomography. Also known as a CT scan, the main thing for you to know about this technology is that it takes multiple scanned images that are each a small “slice” of the overall image desired. These individual images are then assembled in a computer to give one of our veterinary neurology professionals a detailed image of the organ or other body part that we are examining to help us make a diagnosis.

Why Would My Dog Need a CAT Scan?

As mentioned, a CAT or CT scan is used as a diagnostic tool. We typically use it when a more thorough analysis of a suspected problem is needed. Neck pain in dogs is a common reason for this scanning procedure to be used.

If a dog is reluctant to turn their head or if you notice they are keeping their head in an abnormal position, this can indicate neck pain in dogs. Such behaviors are a sign of atlantoaxial luxation in dogs. Most common in small or toy breed dogs, atlantoaxial luxation is when a bone malformation in your dog causes a dislocation, which in turn causes a compression of their spinal cord.

A CAT scan is also useful for diagnosing IVDD in dogs. This stands for intervertebral disk disease. Certain breeds are more prone to this condition, which is an affliction of the spine that results in pain and frequently in varying degrees of paralysis. A CAT scan can help us pinpoint the cause, and determine if it is IVDD or an atlantoaxial luxation or tell us if it’s not an atlantoaxial problem at all. Whatever the scan indicates, it will give us a better indication of our next step in getting your dog back to good health.

How Does a CAT Scan Work?

Most veterinarians would have to tell you to bring your dog or cat to a hospital to have a CAT scan done on your pet, but at Southeast Veterinary Neurology, we are fully equipped with a multi-slice CT scanner as well as an advanced MRI for even more sophisticated diagnoses. This gives us a diagnostic edge over other veterinary hospitals across South Florida. As far as preparation is concerned, the biggest consideration is to ensure your pet stops eating as of the night before the scan. On the day of the scan, your pet’ s blood work is taken, and then we give them anesthesia because it is critical that they do not move during the scan to ensure accurate imagery. This type of scanning is safer than X-rays given that it does not use radiation.

Where Can I Get a CAT Scan in South Florida?

At Southeast Veterinary Neurology, our veterinary neurologists have over 15 years of experience in advanced imaging. When we are presented with a pet that has neck pain, partial paralysis or other symptoms, we have the knowledge and diagnostic tools to tell IVDD in dogs apart from a case of atlantoaxial luxation in dogs. We’ll also be able to determine if it’s not an atlantoaxial problem at all. We’ll then be able to outline and follow a corrective course of action that makes your four-legged friend happy and healthy again.