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How to Choose the Best Veterinary CT Scanner for your Practice

Posted by Vikki Harmonay on Wed, Jan 29, 2014 @ 16:01 PM

CT Scanner or “computed tomography” has been used on animals since the 1970s.  It has grown in popularity in veterinary medicine in recent years, because it can provide high image quality and enable vets to make more definitive diagnosis.  It can help you identify the best options for treating your pet patients.  Best of all, CT Scanners have become more affordable for use in veterinary practices.  Before you decide to add CT Scanning to your practice, there are some important considerations.

ct-animal1CT Scans can be used in many situations.

• Ideal for those with lung, nasal or ear disease

• Can screen the lungs for metastatic cancer prior to surgery

• Abdominal and some orthopedic conditions

• Ideal for pet patients with metal implants that can’t be imaged with MRI.

• Can guide tissue sampling of deep structures, particularly within the thorax.

• To further increase the differentiation of tissue, an iodine-based contrast media can be injected intravenously.

Conventional tomography or computed tomography?

While conventional radiographs can be used on animal patients, there are some drawbacks. 

• Conventional tomography depicts a three dimensional object as a two dimensional image.

• Overlying tissues are superimposed on the image.

• Are unable to distinguish between two tissues with similar density, such as soft tissue and fluid.

Today’s computed tomography performs at a higher level.

• It provides a three dimensional viewpoint by scanning thin slices of the body with a narrow x-ray beam, which rotates around the body.

• It can differentiate between tissues of similar density because of the narrow x ray beam and the use of "windowing."

What CT Scanner fits your practice?

Once you’ve decided that a CT Scanner is right for your practice, it’s important to determine which one is right for you.  First, answer these questions:

  • What is the size of the animals that you treat at your facility?
  • What is the range of weight of the animals?
  • What studies will you be performing?
  • Will you be treating emergencies and trauma?
  • Do you have space to install a CT Scanner?
  • What is your budget and time frame for purchase?
  • Will you need to renovate your facility to house the CT Scanner?
  • What are the HVAC, mechanical, electrical and engineering requirements?
  • What are the installation requirements?

If you have a practice that deals primarily with smaller animals, a 1-4 slice CT scanner is a great choice. It will be affordable and a good investment.  If you operate a vet trauma center, perform oncology studies or practice primarily on larger animals, a  16, 32 40 or 64 slice CT is a better option.  You’ll be able to get better resolution, accurately measure margins of mass and achieve quicker scan speeds.

New, Refurbished or Used?  Buy or Lease?

Because scanner quality has improved and costs are more affordable, CT scanners are being used more by veterinarians. CT Scanners can be costly to buy and to operate — but there are many refurbished and pre-owned CT Scanners on the market.  These come complete with impressive warranties and service contracts are available, as well—which can drastically reduce headaches!  Used or refurbished CT scanners can cost half the price of a new CT and still deliver the high quality image you want and need. And if you don’t have room to house a CT Scanner at your facility, there are Mobile CT Scanners available, which are easy to set up and affordable, as well.   There are also opportunities to lease equipment instead of purchase, which can also be affordable.  The best way to determine what’s right for you is to talk to an expert in the business, like the team at Atlantis Worldwide.  You can also connect with other vets who offer CT scanning in their facilities.  The more you know, the easier it will be to determine the right choice for your practice!

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Topics: Buying Imaging Equipment, Used Medical Imaging Equipment, CT Scanner