What Is A Cat CT Scan?

Disclaimer: The information presented below is for general informational & educational purposes only. Always consult with animal professionals in case of specific concerns.

In this post, we will dive into what exactly a cat CT scan is, how it works, and why it’s important for your beloved pet’s health.

As pet owners, we always want to ensure that our beloved companions receive the best medical care available. When it comes to diagnosing and treating potential health issues in our furry friends, advanced technology has made great strides in providing accurate and efficient results. One such technology that has become increasingly popular in veterinary medicine is the cat CT scan. From detecting tumors and bone fractures to identifying internal injuries, a cat CT scan offers an invaluable tool for veterinarians to provide the best possible care for your feline friend. In this blog post, we will delve into what is a cat CT scan, how it works, and why it’s important for your pet’s health. So let’s dive into the world of veterinary imaging and learn more about this cutting-edge diagnostic tool.

What Is A Cat CT Scan?

A cat CT (Computed Tomography) scan is a diagnostic imaging procedure that uses a combination of X-rays and computer technology to produce cross-sectional images (often called slices) of your cat’s body. It provides more detailed information than standard cat X-ray exams.

Why Might A Cat Need A CT Scan?

Cats may need a CT scan for various reasons, including:

  • Trauma or Injury: To assess internal injuries after accidents or trauma.
  • Tumors and Masses: To diagnose or evaluate the extent of tumors or abnormal masses.
  • Neurological Issues: To investigate neurological disorders or abnormalities.
  • Sinus or Nasal Problems: For detailed imaging of the sinuses or nasal passages.
  • Bone Abnormalities: To examine bones and joints for abnormalities or fractures.
  • Infections: To identify the location and severity of infections.
  • Pre-surgical Planning: Before certain surgeries to provide detailed anatomical information for planning.

How Does A Cat CT Scan Work?

PET/CT Scans for Pets | Carolina Veterinary Specialists Rock Hill |  Veterinary CT Scan

A Cat CT scan operates by rotating around the cat, capturing multiple X-ray images from different angles. These images are then processed by a computer, creating a series of cross-sectional pictures, or ‘slices,’ of the body. As the machine rotates, it collects data at various points, allowing the computer to build a detailed, 3D image of the cat’s internal structures. The cat lies on a motorized table that moves through the circular opening of the machine, ensuring that all necessary areas are scanned. As it’s non-invasive and highly precise, the CT scan enables veterinarians to promptly diagnose and formulate treatment plans for a variety of conditions.

How Long Does A Cat CT Scan Take?

The duration of a Cat CT scan can vary based on the individual animal and the specific area being examined. However, typically, the scan itself takes only a few minutes — around 5 to 10 minutes. However, the overall procedure may take longer, often around 30 minutes to an hour. This additional time is attributed to the preparatory steps such as sedate a cat (since cats need to remain still during the scan), positioning the cat on the scanning table, and post-scan observation to ensure the cat recovers well from sedation or anesthesia.

How Much Does A CT Scan Cost For A Cat?

The cost of a CT scan for a cat can vary significantly based on several factors, including the region, the specific veterinary clinic, whether contrast materials are used, and the complexity of the scan. On average, prices can range anywhere from $500 to $1,200 in the United States. However, it’s essential to bear in mind that this, typically, does not include additional costs related to the procedure, such as the initial consultation, anesthesia, post-scan care, and any necessary follow-up treatment or medication.

Related: How Much Does A Cat Echocardiogram Cost?

Are There Any Risks Associated With A Cat CT Scan?

Like any medical procedure, a Cat CT scan does come with certain risks, albeit minimal. The most prominent risk is related to the sedation or anesthesia necessary to keep the cat still during the procedure. Although modern anesthetics are generally safe, there is always a small risk of complications from this process, particularly in older cats or those with pre-existing health conditions. Additionally, there is a slight risk of radiation exposure; however, the amount is minimal and typically does not cause any adverse effects.


In conclusion, after delving into the world of cat CT scans, we can see the incredible benefits this technology has to offer for our feline friends. From its ability to provide detailed and accurate images, to its non-invasive nature and quick procedure time, cat CT scans are truly a game-changer in veterinary medicine. By explaining the process of a cat CT scan, we hope to have answered any questions or concerns you may have had about this advanced diagnostic tool. Our furry companions deserve the best care possible and with the help of cat CT scans, our veterinarians are able to provide just that. If you believe your cat may benefit from a CT scan, don’t hesitate to discuss it with your veterinarian.