Pet Diagnostics, CT Scans in Scottsdale, AZ

Animal Medical and Surgical Center is committed to providing the latest tools and techniques in veterinary medicine to care for your pet. Digital imaging is a valuable diagnostic tool and we are excited to offer cutting edge Cone Beam Computed Tomography (CT) scanning.

We are the first veterinary hospital in the state of Arizona to install the NewTom 5G Veterinary Cone Beam CT scanner. The technology is so advanced, that so far only one Veterinary School Teaching Hospital in the country, The University of California at Davis, has the same technology.

Vet Computed Tomography (CT) Scan

The NewTom 5G Cone Beam CT creates a three-dimensional, cone-like beam, which generates a huge amount of data that is easily and immediately converted into a traditional and three-dimensional image. This advanced technology has many benefits to your pet such as:

  • Faster, time efficient scans
  • Clear image—Better image quality when compared to traditional CTs
  • Accurate results—File is automatically sent to a radiologist for a second opinion
  • Complete patient records—Scan is saved directly into your pet’s medical record

Veterinary CT Scan Uses

An accurate diagnosis of your pet’s underlying health issue leads to successful treatment options. CT Scans are useful in the diagnosis of a wide variety of problems that occur in our veterinary patients, and they are ideal to view the internal structures of your pet such as:

  • Lungs
  • Nasal disease
  • Ear canal disorders
  • Dental disease
  • Evaluation of abdominal organs
  • Orthopedic conditions
  • Spine and spinal cord disorders with the aid of contrast dye
  • Soft tissue tumors
  • Myelography
CT Referral Form

Cutting Edge Cone Beam CT Scan

We are excited to bring the newest and best technology in advanced imaging to AMSC. We are the first veterinary hospital in the state of Arizona to install the NewTom 5G Vet Cone Beam CT. The technology is so advanced, that so far only one Veterinary school hospital in the country, The University of California at Davis, has the same machine. Cone beam technology allows equal or better image quality when compared to traditional CT scans, while exposing our patients to a mere fraction of the radiation dose. Please read on for more details, and call us or stop by to learn more.

Why Cone Beam Technology?

Traditional CT scans operate by producing a “fan”-like beam of radiation that creates one image “slice” at a time. This fan beam must circle the patient repeatedly to generate all of the slices needed to create a full image. In comparison, the Cone Beam CT creates a three-dimensional “cone”-like beam. This means that the beam only has to circle the patient one time to image an entire area, exposing your pet to far less radiation.

The scanner also senses and responds to patient size, producing even less radiation for our smaller patients. Studies in human maxillo-facial and dental imaging have shown that Cone Beam CTs expose a patient to anywhere from 5-100 times less radiation than traditional CTs. Finally, the cone generates a huge amount of data that is easily and immediately converted into a traditional and three-dimensional image.

Why the NewTom 5G Vet CT?

This high-tech unit is capable of completing a 360-degree revolution in substantially less time than a traditional CT scan, exposing your pet to far less radiation. This means less time under anesthesia for your pet. The scan is immediately saved as a type of file called a “DICOM”. This file is sent automatically to a veterinary radiologist for interpretation, providing a rapid and board certified second opinion for our Doctors. The NewTom software allows us to save specific images right into your pet’s medical record, and to generate a wide variety of reports that can be sent to you and your regular veterinarian if you are referred for a CT scan.

CT Scans are useful in a wide variety of problems that occur in our veterinary patients. They are used to look at the lungs for chronic respiratory problems and to rule out metastatic cancer, to provide beautiful detail of nasal disease, ear canal disorders, and dental disease, and to evaluate abdominal organs. They are particularly well suited for diagnosing certain subtle orthopedic conditions, and for indirectly imaging the spinal the spinal cord with the aid of myelographic contrast. CT scans with intravenous contrast can help demonstrate how large some soft tissue tumors are, allowing a better chance for complete removal. Some examples of our diagnostic capabilities are detailed below.

Elbow Disease

The model on the left demonstrates a condition known as fragmented medial coronoid process. This is one of the most common orthopedic problems of the elbow in larger dogs, and can be sometimes difficult to diagnose. The second image is a CT scan highlighting the fragmented piece of bone that causes lameness and arthritis if not removed from the joint.

Model of a Fragmented Medial Coronoid Process

CT Scan Highlighting the Fragmented Bone

Spinal Cord Disorders

One of the scariest emergencies for a pet owner is the sudden onset of paralysis from a ruptured intervertebral disc. As shown above, the ruptured disc puts extreme pressure on the spinal cord, causing signs as mild as pain and as severe as complete loss of limb function. In many of these cases, the only way to save the ability to walk is to surgically remove the offending disc as soon as possible. CT scans performed with the aid of a contrast (CT myelogram) provide excellent localization of these lesions to allow our Doctors to remove the pressure as efficiently as possible.

Dental Disease

As we have recognized the very real medical benefits of keeping our pets’ teeth and gums healthy, we have also continued to look for better ways to diagnose problems that can’t be seen on simple inspection of the mouth. Cone Beam technology has been shown to be vastly superior to intraoral radiographs in identifying disease deep inside the teeth and jaw bones. In fact, the driving forces behind the development of Cone Beam CT were the human dental, orthodontic, and oral surgery fields. A full mouth dental CT scan can be done in 18 seconds, while intra-oral radiographs may take 20-30 minutes. This provides a better diagnostic result with less time under anesthesia for your pet.

Brain Imaging

Abnormal accumulations of fluid, inflamed lesions, evidence of trauma, and tumors (especially if they are aggressive and involve bone) can be very precisely imaged with Cone Beam CT. The use of an intravenous contrast agent allows more vascular areas (often true of tumors, inflammation) to show up brighter than the surrounding tissues. We will often recommend a CT scan for a pet that has seizures or has a sudden change in behavior. Also, certain neurologic problems (circling, head pressing, falling to one side) are likely to be associated with brain pathology.

3D reconstruction of a skull fracture in a Chihuahua

2D axial view of a brain and skull tumor

Cancer Evaluation

Having a pet with cancer is devastating, and the uncertain future outcome adds to the level of anxiety. It is essential, both for planning treatment, and for providing a better idea of prognosis, to gain as much information about a malignant tumor as possible. CT with the aid of intravenous contrast allows us to better understand the size and invasiveness of many tumors.

Arrows show borders of a large mass in this dog’s armpit

Arrow shows small metastatic lesion (spread of cancer to the lungs)

Ear Disease

Some ear problems require more than medication to make them better. These include severe infections that have invaded into the middle ear or created permanent changes to the ear canal, tumors, and foreign material.

Nasal Disease

Traditionally, skull radiographs have often been used in the diagnosis of nasal tumors or severe, destructive infections. These are difficult to take and reliably interpret. The CT scan provides a way to see the entire nasal passage in cross section, which allows us to look for abnormal growths or bone loss much more thoroughly. By comparison, x-ray of the nasal cavity provides only a hint of the anatomic detail present within the area.



We are pleased to offer the latest in veterinary technology to care for your pet. Please contact us to schedule an appointment.