CT is the acquisition of a series of x-ray images at high speed circumferentially around the area of interest so giving a 3-dimensional x-ray image. It has significant advantages over 2-dimensional x-ray particularly in the assessment of dental, sinus and other head diseases and in the assessment of fractures.
In adult horses we are able to image the head and proximal neck with the horse standing up and sedated, allowing us to accurately assess the teeth and paranasal sinuses, and the skull bones. These scans are done with the horse floating on a stable bed of air, and are both rapid and completely non-invasive for your horse. This is the gold standard imaging test for the diagnosis of dental disease and we would strongly recommend its use in cases where oral examination and oroscopy has been unable to determine a definitive diagnosis.
In horses under general anaesthesia (supervised by Kate Loomes BVSc CertAVP(EP) CertAVP (VA) DipECVAA MRCVS, Specialist in Veterinary Anaesthesia), we can image the entire neck (cervical spine) to the cranial thoracic region, including performing myelograms. For lameness and limb issues, we can scan from the foot to the elbow in the forelimb and the foot to stifle in the hindlimb, with pelvic CT possible in some patients too; this has completely revolutionised equine imaging and we are proud to be able to offer this. We frequently complement limb imaging with use of an x-ray contrast media with this either injected into a joint to delineate the articular cartilage, or using ultrasound to inject this into an artery to highlight soft tissue injuries.
Recently the scanner capabilities have allowed us to begin to perform thoracic and abdominal CT examinations in foals and smaller horses and ponies, pushing back the boundaries of technology to achieve the best for our patients, this can be used to evaluate the blood vessels (angiography), kidneys and intestinal tract amongst other things, though in some of our largest horses the size may still limit what can be included.
Our referral team are always happy to discuss cases that you think may benefit from a CT scan and for more information on what a CT scan entails see admission for CT.