New CT Scanner Provides Faster More Detailed Animal Exams
July 11, 2005
COLLEGE STATION - Small animals are benefiting greatly from a
new, state-of-the-art imaging system, helical CT, which allows
radiologists at Texas A&M University 's College of Veterinary
Medicine and Biomedical Sciences to obtain detailed wafer-thin
cross-sections of internal anatomy without the need for surgery.
With helical CT or "helical CAT scan," x-ray technology and
high-speed computers can produce numerous cross-sectional images of
an animal's anatomy in less than a minute.
The equipment assists veterinarians in the study and diagnosis
of animal diseases, injuries and abnormalities. "This is currently
the best CT scanner in all of Brazos County ," said Dr. Anne Bahr,
an assistant professor and veterinary radiologist at the College of
Veterinary Medicine and Biomedical Sciences. "This is the same kind
of CT scanner that is used in human hospitals, but we are easily
adapting it for imaging dogs, cats and sometimes birds. We are
hoping to remodel the CT exam area and purchase a special table
that will enable us to also perform CT exams on horses."
The technology of the General Electric LightSpeed helical CT
scanner allows for more rapid image acquisition and processing than
our previous CT machine. Bahr explained, "The circular pathway of
the x-ray tube around the patient can be likened to a helix or
continuous coil, which results in a much shorter exam time. A very
high speed computer processes the digital information obtained, to
produce many cross sectional images on a high resolution computer
Bahr said, "For just a few examples, we can study brain or
spinal cord disease, nasal disease, orthopedic disease and tumors
in various parts of the body. We can examine almost any part of the
small animal's body with this equipment."
Radiologists and technicians can now perform studies of certain
body parts that before were difficult to accomplish. "Whereas
previously it took such a long time to perform CT studies of the
thorax or abdomen, we can now do them on a routine basis," Bahr
said. "We're also able to do more specialized studies because of
the high speed of the machine. For example, we've begun performing
non-invasive CT angiograms to evaluate blood vessels with just an
intravenous injection of contrast medium."
Another benefit of the high-speed scanner is that some CT exams
can now be performed without administering general anesthesia to
the animals. "This is a big improvement, especially when dealing
either with orthopedic cases involving relatively healthy animals,
or possibly with animals too sick to safely anesthetize. Now we can
just sedate some of these animals and scan them without the
associated risks of general anesthesia," said Bahr.
The sophisticated computer power of the scanner allows the
veterinary professionals to manipulate and to enhance the images.
"The computer makes it possible for us to shade, rotate, correlate
and measure the anatomy in the CT images," said Bahr. "We are
obtaining more diagnostic information than ever before."
Angela G. Clendenin
Director, Communications & Public Relations
Ofc - (979) 862-2675
Cell - (979) 739-5718
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