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MRI vs. CT Scans vs. X-Rays for Pets

Diagnostic imaging is an exceptional tool used by our Rabun County vets to help us pinpoint the cause, extent, or seriousness of your pet's illness or injury. Depending on your pet's condition, the type of diagnostic imaging used will vary. Below are a few of the tests that your vet may recommend to help diagnose or treat your dog or cat.

Radiography - X-Rays for Dogs & Cats

X-rays are one of the most helpful, and frequently used tools in veterinary healthcare. X-rays can help your vet to get a view of your pet's bones, tissues, and internal organs so that they can diagnose problems such as broken bones, bladder stones, swallowed foreign objects, and more. X-ray images can help vets to spot some tumors, pregnancy, and enlarged organs which may lead to a diagnosis such as heart disease or cancer.

X-rays will not provide a detailed view of your pet's organs, tissues, or ligaments using x-ray technology. In these cases, other diagnostic imaging such as MRI  is more beneficial.

For dogs and cats, X-rays are painless, non-invasive, and regarded as being very safe. Digital X-rays in particular use radiation at extremely low doses. Even X-rays of pregnant dogs are safe because the amount of radiation exposure needed to perform radiography is very low. Sometimes sedation is necessary to obtain a clear image of your body. Sedation won't be required if your dog or cat is calm, not in too much pain, and able to lay comfortably while the X-ray is being taken. However, sedation may be required if your pet is uneasy, anxious, or in pain.

PET/CT Scan for Pets

Computed Tomography - CT Scans for Dogs & Cats

The high-resolution images produced by the CT machine help your veterinary team to evaluate your pet's anatomy in great detail - detail that would be impossible to achieve with standard X-rays. 

The bony and soft tissue structures of your dog or cat are beautifully visualized by CT scanners for your veterinarian. Images of the spine, nasal cavity, inner ear, bones and joints, and the chest and lungs are most frequently produced by CT technology. The CT scanner can also be used to examine vascular structures, thyroid glands, abdominal organs, lymph nodes, and brain and skull.

Positron Emission Tomography - PET Scans for Dogs & Cats

Veterinarians can see increased blood flow in the animal's body through the use of a CT scan and a contrast agent administered intravenously (IV) to your pet. The detection of cancer and inflammatory lesions is made possible by PET scans. PET scans are used in humans to provide doctors with a thorough understanding of the function of the patient's tissues and organs. The most frequent uses of PET scans are for the detection and monitoring of cancer.

CT & PET Scan Process

The animal must remain completely motionless during CT and PET scans. Because of this, your veterinarian will carry out these diagnostic imaging tests while your pet is asleep.While sedated, your pet's vital signs are carefully watched throughout the entire CT/PET procedure. A CT/PET scan typically only requires a short amount of time. After the scan is finished, a specialist will typically interpret the images, and a thorough report with findings and diagnostic advice will be sent to the veterinarian handling your pet's care.

MRI - Veterinary Magnetic Resonance Imaging for Dogs & Cats

Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) has been readily available to help diagnose human health concerns since the early 1980s, but it is only recently that veterinary MRIs have become more widely used.

MRI scans can provide your vet with high-resolution, detailed images of your pet's soft tissues including the brain, spinal cord, ligaments, tendons, and abdominal organs. For many types of soft tissue injuries or diseases, the use of veterinary MRIs can provide a more detailed image of your pet's body than other diagnostic imaging tools such as X-Rays or CT Scans.

If your dog or cat is exhibiting symptoms such as limping, lameness, seizures, joint pain, neck pain, back pain, or paralysis, an MRI might be recommended to help diagnose the cause of your pet's symptoms. 

MRIs on dogs and cats are completed in 45 to 1 hour. The patient must remain completely motionless during an MRI to be successful. A general anesthetic will be given to your dog or cat before their MRI scan in order to guarantee the success of the procedure.To help ensure that your pet is healthy enough to undergo general anesthesia, veterinarians typically advise having blood tests and X-rays done before the MRI.

Note: The advice provided in this post is intended for informational purposes and does not constitute medical advice regarding pets. For an accurate diagnosis of your pet's condition, please make an appointment with your vet.

If your dog or cat needs an X-ray, MRI, or CT Scan, we may be able to provide you with a referral. Contact Rabun Animal Hospital to have your pet checked-out by one of our vets. They take pride in helping to restore the good health of Rabun County pets.

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Rabun Animal Hospital is currently accepting new patients! Our wonderful veterinarians are dedicated to the health and happiness of Rabun County dogs, cats, and exotic pets. Get in touch today to book your pet's first appointment.

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