Computed Tomography (CT)

Computed Tomography (CT)

A transverse CT image through an equine head. The nasal cavities and para-nasal sinuses should be symmetric. In this case a large, round, soft tissue attenuating mass is present in the rostral maxillary sinus, consistent with an ethmoidhematoma. (arrow) ~ Select for larger image

Computed tomography (CT) uses x-rays to produce multiple images of the inside of the body, and provides thin, cross-sectional “slices” for viewing. CT scans of internal organs, bone, soft tissue and blood vessels provide much more detail than conventional x-rays. Radiologists use this specialized equipment and expertise to diagnose problems such as cancer, abnormalities of blood vessels, trauma, and musculoskeletal disorders.

CT imaging:
•    Allows complete visualization of complex bone structures such as the carpus, tarsus and skull 
•    Individual structures can be evaluated in any plane without superimposition of overlying tissues
•    CT allows complete evaluation of the nasal cavity and sinuses

Computed tomography provides multiple, sequential slices through the area of interest in any plane. In this example several transverse slices through the carpus show comminuted fractures of multiple carpal bones. The bottom image shows a comminuted fracture through the fourth carpal bone; this fracture was seen as mild lateral displacement of this bone on radiographs (red arrows). While the top two images show the proximal row of carpal bones and fracture of the intermediate carpal bone that was not visible on plane radiographs.  ~ Select for larger image

Veterinary radiologists often use the CT examination to:
•    Plan for surgical repair of joints and complex fractures
•    Diagnose masses or tumors of the skull
•    Plan radiation therapy for tumors