What to Look For in a Veterinarian CT Scanner

Improve care with a CT scanner in your veterinary clinic

A CT scanner can be a profitable apparatus in a veterinary clinic. Providing three-dimensional, diagnostic images of animal anatomy with clear spatial resolution between tissues, a veterinarian CT scanner enables convenient, effective care for your patients. It may also give your clinic that "edge" to stay ahead of the competition.

In other words, effective use of a veterinary CT scanner can bring several advantages to your vet clinic and your patients, from small pets (cats, dogs, etc) to larger animals such as horses and cattle. Compared to conventional x-ray and ultrasound, some benefits of a veterinarian CT scanner can include:

  • High-resolution, 3D images of an animal's anatomy, which can provide dramatic improvements in diagnosis and treatment planning
  • Better differentiation of similar tissues in various animals (higher tissue contrast when compared with x-ray)
  • Comprehensive data regarding masses, muscle-to-bone ratios, and the shape, size, density, and texture of internal structures
  • Improvements in cancer detection, diagnosis, and treatment
  • More accurate determination when surgeries are necessary (reductions in the need for exploratory surgeries)

If you're thinking of adding a CT scanner to your veterinary clinic, PrizMED Imaging can help. Our experts will work with you, one-on-one, to help balance your imaging needs and budget. We also provide expert opinions on a range of affordable CT equipment, including new and refurbished, FDA-certified CT scanners.

A CT scanner is a major investment, so make the right choice with PrizMED Imaging at your side. Talk to an expert today at 440-414-7539. In the meantime, continue reading below to learn the basics of veterinary CT scanners.


What makes a vet-friendly CT scanner?

Essentially, there is no difference between human and vet CTs. Operators using a vet-friendly CT scanner may require specialized training and animal diagnostic protocols. There are also major structural and performance differences between human CT scanners and those used for veterinary applications. These differences include:

  • Gantry bore size and weight limit
  • Types of studies performed

A vet-friendly CT scanner also has the infrastructure and accessories necessary for diverse animal imaging. For instance, the requirements for immobilizing and scanning a horse will be different than, say, a pet rabbit.


Gantry bore size and weight limit

A conventional CT scanner's gantry aperture (bore) can typically accommodate people of different shapes and sizes.

To maximize benefit and profitability from a veterinary CT scanner, however, the machine needs to be as versatile as possible. The scanner should accommodate and effectively image any patient from 2 oz to 200 lbs, but in reality, many veterinary CT scanners are limited in the size range of animals they can scan.

For this reason, always consider the gantry bore diameter and the field-of-view diameter and length.

Unless you are scanning horses or large pigs, a standard 70 cm bore is satisfactory for most imaging needs. If your veterinary practice mostly focuses on large animals, you may need to consider a wide-bore scanner. Additionally, always make sure the gantry weight limit is able to sustain the animals you wish to scan. The weight capacities of some popular CT scanners include:

It is important to note that increased weight capacities on some scanners will reduce accuracy.


Types of Studies Performed

The imaging services that your veterinarian clinic offers can point you toward the type of CT scanner that best serves these needs. For standard veterinary clinics that treat small animals, including most types of pets, a 1- to 4-slice CT scanner may be enough.

If you are unfamiliar with CT scanner slice counts, just remember that 16-slice is known as the gold-standard. Sixteen-slice scanners are optimal for the most common diagnostic imaging needs in veterinary clinics, and you can expect the following attributes:

  • Enhanced image quality and spatial imaging
  • Increased scan speed
  • Increased patient volume and throughput
  • Broader range of examinations
  • Advanced image post-processing and clinical applications

A 16-slice scanner is also necessary if your clinic assists in trauma cases, as the faster scan speeds and greater resolution can help the fast-paced demands and the need for greater accuracy in on-the-spot diagnoses.

Going higher than a 16-slice scanner for standard clinical operations may be excessive unless you are performing research or oncological studies; for the latter, you should consider CT scanners with 16, 32, or 40 slices. The higher slice count is ideal for diagnosing and assessing the extent of diseases while more accurately measuring the dimensions of masses.


Comparing Costs of Veterinary CT Scanners

As a vet, you may have wondered: "If someone dropped unlimited money in my practice, how would I spend it?" You certainly might have no restraints on getting a best-in-class, brand new CT scanner. Among new veterinary CT scanners, the price ranges from $250,000 to $1 million.

Like most vet practices, however, budgetary concerns come first. Fortunately, as the used and refurbished CT scanner market continues to grow, it's becoming more financially feasible than ever for a mid-size to large veterinary clinics to add CT imaging to their service offerings. By choosing PrizMED Imaging for a refurbished, FDA-certified veterinary CT scanner, you'll be looking at a fraction of that cost.


How Much Do Refurbished Veterinary CT Scanners Cost?

It is important to note that used and refurbished are entirely different concepts. When we at PrizMED Imaging purchase a used CT scanner, we only look for top-of-the-line used systems with a minimum x-ray tube life as well as other standards. Afterward, we refurbish these systems to their original manufacturer standards. All of our refurbished veterinary CT scanners are FDA-certified for optimal performance and reliability.

This can be a major benefit for many types of veterinary clinics, from the small to the large. In general, the price for a refurbished 16-slice CT scanner, when buying with us, would be approximately $150,000, and a 64-slice scanner would be approximately $200,000.

Price Considerations for Veterinarian CT Scanners

In addition to the price of the actual scanner, you will need to budget for service and maintenance costs as well as disposable costs.

Most animal studies require anesthesia or heavy sedation, and so you may also need to consider the costs for a complete drug protocol that incorporates oxygen, CO2 monitoring, heart-rate monitoring, etc.

Top 4 CT Scanners for Vet Clinics

To guide you along your path to an optimal vet CT scanner purchase (or rental!), we've compiled our list of the top 4 CT scanners for use in veterinary clinics.

1. Toshiba Aquilion 16 or 64 slice

The Toshiba Aquilion CT scanners, available in 16- or 64-slice models, offer some of the fastest gantry rotation times in their class, and with the 16-slice scanner, you can expect an image reconstruction time of 0.10 seconds.

These scanners include an ergonomic user console, dose optimization technologies, and workflow features designed to help you make a fast, accurate diagnosis.

2. Philips Brilliance 16 or 64 slice

The Philips Brilliance 16-slice CT scanner is one of our top-selling models due to its excellent image quality and reasonable price.

For more imaging power, image resolution, and speed, the 64-slice models is the optimal choice, useful when performing advanced cardiac and pulmonary exams for a variety of different animals and pets.

3. GE Lightspeed 16 or 64 slice

The GE Lightspeed 16 and 64 CT scanners are another popular option for veterinary clinics due to their emphasis on higher image quality, lower radiation doses, and maximum efficiency so that you can see more patients throughout the day.

Combining a range of advanced imaging technologies for superior quality, the GE Lightspeed 16 excels at providing 2D and 3D resolutions.

4. Siemens Emotion 16 slice

Siemens has always led the way for CT scanner innovation, and the Siemens Emotion 16-slice provides top quality imaging with dramatically reduced life-cycle costs, compared to other models in its class.

Additionally, the Emotion 16 features a 70cm bore aperture, suitable for larger animals, a 50cm scan field, and a patient table that can hold patients up to 440 pounds. While imaging, the Emotion 16-slice can reconstruct images at 16 images per second. 

If you are looking for a CT scanner optimized for the needs and budget of your veterinary clinic, we at PrizMED Imaging will work with you to help make an intelligent purchasing decision.

Please contact us by phone at 440-414-7539 or use the form below and a member of our customer service team will be happy to help you.