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Computed Tomography - CT:

  • If your horse is insured, you should inform the insurance company that we intend to undertake a CT examination and, where appropriate, check that the insurers are prepared to cover the cost of this examination. Wherever possible this should be done well in advance of your appointment date. You can download our guide for insurance claims for day-case appointments HERE.
  • Please bring details of your insurance policy along to the appointment with you (i.e. company name, policy number and where possible, claim reference).
  • Please bring your horse's passport with you to the appointment.
  • Your horse will need to be sedated for the scan. If you know of any reason why this cannot be done safely or if you know of any problems that the horse has previously encountered when being sedated, then please inform us.
  • ​In a small number of horses, sedation may predispose them to mild colic. If your horse is prone to colic, it might be prudent to feed a laxative diet for 24 hours or so before the scan after your horse returns home. If feasible, walking exercise can also be helpful to promote gut motility.
  • ​You will be informed when your horse can leave the clinic, normally as soon as we have completed the scan and checked to see that we have images of diagnostic quality. Arrangements to collect the horse can be made at the time.
  • Due to the large amount of information collected during the procedure, it is unlikely that you will receive any results before your horse is discharged. In most cases a full report will be produced within 3-5 working days and copies will be sent to yourself and your referring vet.

CT Guidance Notes:

  • Shoes do not need to be removed for the procedure.
  • Your horse can eat and drink as normal prior to the procedure (unless we advise you otherwise).
  • The scanning process is very quick (less than 2 minutes) but the preparation to ensure it is safe for your horse; to get your horse in position; to ensure the images are of high enough quality and to make sure your horse is ready to travel after the procedure can take up to 3-4 hours. Most horses will be discharged on the same day as the procedure.
  • You may stay with your horse until he / she goes into the CT room but cannot stay with your horse during the scan due to the risks of unnecessary radiation exposure to humans.
  • In view of our interests in researching the applications of CT in horses, we are always interested in hearing how individual horses have fared after they have returned home from having a CT scan. We may contact you and your vet in the future to find out how your horse has got on.

Potential Risks:-

  • As with any procedure, despite the use of sedation, some horses become wary during the procedure and very rarely will panic, possibly causing injury to themselves. All risks of this occurring are minimalised as far as possible and we ensure we are always prepared for any unforeseen circumstances.
  • We will clip a small patch on the neck and place an intravenous catheter in your horse to administer sedation. Intravenous catheterisation is a commonly performed and low risk procedure but please let us know if your horse has had any complications with sedation previously or if you do not want the patch of hair clipped.
  • CT scans use X-rays and the amount of radiation used is more than an ordinary, conventional X-ray of the area being imaged; however, your vet will have made the recommendation to perform the CT scan knowing that the risks of the procedure are outweighed by the quality of the information it provides. In human medicine, CT scans are regularly used for diagnostic purposes and the radiation dose of 1 scan is equal to the natural radiation that we receive from the atmosphere over a period of approximately 3 years.

Equine CT is still in its infancy and it continues to reveal many new conditions that we are trying to learn more about. An important way of increasing our knowledge is by correlating the results of CT with surgical and post mortem examinations. If your horse has previously had a CT scan and undergoes surgery on the same area, we would be grateful to hear of the findings. If for any reason your horse has to be destroyed, then we would welcome the opportunity to perform a post-mortem examination of the scanned area. In this way we can further increase our knowledge and expertise for the benefit of horses in the future.