If your vet ever needs to get a closer look at a certain part of your dog’s body, the vet might recommend a CT scan.
Just like humans might have a CT scan to evaluate a trauma or a health issue, dogs can benefit from the same type of diagnostics. it will likely cost $1,500 to $3,500 to get a clearer picture of what’s going on with your pup.
- CT scans can help your vet to spot issues like bone fractures, tumors, infections, and blood clots.
- Several factors can impact the price of your dog’s CT scan, including: the complexity of the scan, the veterinary clinic, and the cost of anesthesia.
- Pet insurance could help cover the costs of CT (and any necessary sedation) to get a closer look at your pup’s organs and skeletal structures following an unexpected accident and illness.
Here’s what we’ll cover:
- What is a CT scan for dogs?
- What is the average cost of a CT scan on a dog?
- What else can affect the cost of a CT scan?
- Will pet insurance cover the cost of my dog’s CT scan?
- When do dogs require CTs?
- What will and won’t show up on a CT?
What is a CT scan for dogs?
A computed tomography (CT) scan uses a large x-ray tube to take multiple x-rays of a specific part of your dog’s body.
Your dog will be sedated and will lay on a table that slides into the CT machine. The multiple x-rays taken during the CT scan essentially show “slices” of your dog’s bones, blood vessels, and soft tissues, giving your vet detailed information about what’s going on in your dog’s body.
CT scans are often used to evaluate pets who have been through a trauma like a fall or a car accident. This diagnostic imaging can help your vet to spot issues like bone fractures, tumors, infections, and blood clots. CT scans are also used to monitor diseases like cancer and heart disease.
What is the average cost of a CT scan on a dog?
A CT scan on a dog can cost anywhere from $1,500 to $3,500, and the total cost often depends on where you have the scan performed.
If your dog needs an emergency CT scan at a hospital after a car accident, you are likely to pay a higher price for the scan than a scheduled CT scan performed on an outpatient basis.
CT scanners are highly specialized and expensive pieces of equipment, so smaller veterinary offices may not have them. Your vet may refer you to a larger vet hospital that offers CT scans.
What else can affect the cost of a CT scan?
Several factors will affect the cost of a CT scan. Rates can vary between different veterinary hospitals and specialty vet practices, so it’s always a good idea to get estimates from several different animal hospitals, if possible. If your dog doesn’t urgently need a CT scan, then you may find that you’re able to save money by traveling a bit farther to a different location to have the test done.
Since dogs need to lie still during the entire procedure, your vet will sedate your dog for the CT scan. The amount of general anesthesia needed will depend on your dog’s weight, with larger dogs needing more sedation than smaller dogs. As a result, the cost to sedate a larger dog will be more expensive.
The complexity of the scan that your dog needs will also impact the cost. For example, your vet might want to enhance the CT scan images by performing a CT scan with contrast. Your vet will inject contrast materials containing iodine into your dog’s vein before the scan, and this can also increase the CT scan cost.
Will pet insurance cover the cost of my dog’s CT scan?
In many cases, yes!
A base policy with Lemonade Pet helps cover the costs of diagnostics, procedures, and medication related to unexpected and eligible accidents and illnesses. So, pet insurance would help cover the costs of CT (and any necessary sedation) to get a closer look at your pup’s organs and skeletal structures.
When do dogs require CTs?
Most often, vets recommend CT scans for dogs when they suspect the dog has a problem and they need a highly detailed image of certain parts of the body to diagnose the abnormalities.
Your vet might request CT imaging for many different situations:
- Quickly evaluating a trauma in an emergency situation
- Identifying areas of inflammation or the presence of cancer
- Diagnosing and evaluating lung diseases and nasal disease
- Viewing the structure of your dog’s inner ear to diagnose ear disorders
- Evaluating and monitoring joint degeneration and orthopedic issues, like elbow dysplasia
- Diagnosing and monitoring brain and spinal conditions
- Evaluating dental diseases and dental issues like tooth abscesses
What will and won’t show up on a CT?
CT scans provide detailed looks at the bony and soft tissues within your dog’s body. Since a CT scan takes x-ray images that are multiple “slices” of your dog’s body, your vet can then use those images to create 3D reconstructions of structures like your dog’s spinal cord, inner ear, brain, lymph nodes, thyroid gland, and abdominal organs.
Pairing a CT scan with a contrast solution makes it easier to also see your dog’s blood flow, making it very helpful when detecting or measuring cancers or inflammation.
The information that a CT scan provides can help your vet to determine the next steps in your dog’s diagnosis or treatment, such as blood work, a biopsy, or surgery.
Before we go…
A CT scan for a dog can be pricey, but it can also help your vet to quickly arrive at an accurate diagnosis.
Be sure to discuss any financial concerns you have about your dog’s diagnosis and treatment with your vet, and you can always ask for estimates for the tests that your vet recommends.
Purchasing insurance for your dog can also give you peace of mind, knowing you’re prepared just in case your dog ever needs a CT scan.
A few quick words, because we <3 our lawyers: This post is general in nature, and any statement in it doesn’t alter the terms, conditions, exclusions, or limitations of policies issued by Lemonade, which differ according to your state of residence. You’re encouraged to discuss your specific circumstances with your own professional advisors. The purpose of this post is merely to provide you with info and insights you can use to make such discussions more productive! Naturally, all comments by, or references to, third parties represent their own views, and Lemonade assumes no responsibility for them. Coverage may not be available in all states.