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Why LIBEVC Has a CAT-Scan and Why CT Scans Save Lives in Small Mammals & Exotic Pets

Rabbit having a CT Scan at Long Island Bird and Exotics Vet Clinic

Hey there from LIBEVC!  We have a lot of fun talking about different kinds of exotic pets, but this month we decided to focus on CT scans, short for Computed Tomography. Why?

Because this advanced technology is crucial to diagnosing diseases and providing appropriate care for your exotic pet birds, mammals and reptiles. CT scans are the future of exotic pets’ medicine imaging and we are proud to be one of the few hospitals in the country that offers it now, exclusively for exotic pets.

In fact, Long Island Birds & Exotic Vet Clinic is the only hospital in the Northeast to offer it.

CT Scan Guinea pig with skull fractures
Guinea pig with skull fractures

CT Scans Save Lives

We see it all the time at LIBEVC: CT scans save lives. Here at our New York based vet clinic, we have done our thorough research and we are equipped with the latest technology that best suits the needs of our exotic companions: Vimago HD Volumetric Imaging. This machine is catering to the small image sizes and imaging details that our exotic pet vets need to provide top quality care.

World Leaders in Exotic Veterinary Care

In the past 18 months, we have performed hundreds of scans and gained extensive experience and knowledge. In fact, on May 2nd, Dr. Malka and our board certified radiologist Dr. Dennison presented a 2 -hour master class on the topic at the International Exotics’ Medicine Conference in London, teaching and sharing with other colleagues from all around the world their findings. By presenting at these types of workshops, Dr. Malka and his colleagues are helping to elevate the level of care that exotic pets can receive around the world. They’re paving the way to increase standards of veterinary care to exotic species. (You can learn more about their talk here.)

CT Scans Tell Us What Your Pet Can’t

While your pets can’t always show us why or where they’re feeling off, CT scans often can! When your parakeet is acting amiss or your chinchilla isn’t feeling their best, bringing your pet to a specialized exotic animal vet is the first step. Sometimes our pets require additional work up to ensure that they are receiving the most appropriate treatment. This workup may involve x-rays but, in many cases, radiographic images are not detailed enough.

Sugar glider: severe pneumonia, cannot be appreciated on X-rays
Sugar glider: severe pneumonia, cannot be appreciated on X-rays

Diagnosing Bone Infections, Dental Disease, Cancer and More

X-rays have their role in diagnostics, but when it comes to smaller details, the images they provide may not be enough for exotic and avian vets to fully examine the areas of interest. Dental diseases, ear infections, bone infections and cancers are just a few of the illnesses that we are more able to detect through the use of CT scans. This is the biggest technological advancement of the clinic and why we have been using CT scans ever since!

There are so many instances where the use of CT scans have given us the opportunity to save the lives of patients, making diagnosis that otherwise would not have been possible!

Like that time when…

A rabbit had severe rhinitis (nose infection)

A rabbit had severe rhinitis (nose infection)

or a guinea pig with severe ear infection involving the brain. We could not see that with just X-rays.

Guinea pig with severe ear infection involving the brain

10 Reasons Our Exotic Vet Clinic Prefers CT Scans

CT scans are an incredibly important tool in the diagnostics of reptiles, parrots and other birds, and small mammals such as guinea pigs, hamsters, ferrets, chinchillas etc.

We have found that these exotic species require advanced imaging because:

1. They have small bodies and x-rays don’t show enough detail.

2. Many small mammals, reptiles and birds show no or very little sign of illness. Only a CT scan can detect these illnesses early on, when they are most likely to be treatable.

3. Exotics pets require care from specialized veterinarians. Our exotic pet vets are able to utilize our CT when indicated, ensuring that each pet receives the most appropriate treatment for his or her problem.

4. Sometimes, unfortunately, an illness is detected in an advanced state, or an accurate diagnosis of cancer is made. CT scans help us prepare pet owners for a realistic outcome, without unnecessary additional tests or procedures. The allows us to reduce pain and suffering as well as prolonged periods of uncertainty.

5. CT scans are often lifesaving! Pre-surgical & diagnostic scans give us an opportunity to approach procedures and treatment with the most knowledge possible.

6. CT scans work (and are important) for all of your pets! Mammals, reptiles and amphibians, regardless of their size. We have even done CT scans on 20-gram canaries and 8-foot snakes.

7. Unlike radiographs, CAT scans allow us to create a 3D image of your pet. These images are extremely precise and, as a plus, they also look really cool.

8. In our HD-Vimago machine, CT scans use 60-90% less radiation than traditional CT scans and take only 32 seconds to capture an image.

9. There is no big schlep! Our in-house scans give us an immediate image to read. However, we don’t want to be too hasty so we also utilize a board-certified veterinary radiologist to read our scans and produce a complete findings report.

10. The Vimago HD Volumetric Imaging system can also be used as a fluoroscopy platform, enabling us to see inside an animal during surgery. This allows our veterinarians to perform many minimally invasive procedures.

Answering the Tough Questions

Are you debating whether to bring your parakeet to an avian vet near you, versus making your way down to our facilities to take advantage of our technology? Coming out to Long Island Bird & Exotic Pet Vet may save your pet’s life. If you want an opportunity to ask questions and learn more about this topic, please don’t hesitate to call or email us.

Worried about Your Own Pet?

In the meantime, if you do own a small mammal, reptile, bird or amphibian, and you suspect he or she is feeling ill, please give us a call or bring them in for an appointment.

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