ST. MARYS — The Elk County Veterinary Clinic recently added a CT scanner to its facility.

“CT is kind of the midway point between an MRI and an x-ray,” Dr. Jesse Shirey explained. “What it allows us to do is it takes a bunch of x-rays and puts them together so that we can see a slice of the animal.”

The 3D imaging allows doctors to get a better view of what is happening inside the animal, and it can be used on any kind of small animal, including dogs, cats, and exotics.

Common injuries it’s used on are back and skull problems in pets and dental scans.

“It lets us really find the depth of problems much more extensively. There is a lot more that can be diagnosed with this machine than x-ray and ultrasound,” Shirey said.

Before this advanced diagnostic imaging technology was available at the Elk County Veterinary Clinic, patients would have traveled well over one hour to get these kind of diagnostics.

Animals are maintained under anesthesia or heavy sedation, the images are taken, and then are sent out to be read by a specialist. Shirey said the scan takes about a half-hour.

“Before this, we would have to refer a patient to State College or treat by guessing,” Shirey said. “Now we can take that extra step and we’ve made it about 30 percent than other places.”

The clinic, which averages about 13,000 appointments each year, installed the CT in December and has since used it about 35 times.

“We’re excited because this hospital is a very busy hospital,” Shirey said. “We really want to be able to help the community and animals as much as possible and try to find a way to make it closer and more affordable.”

“We’re really lucky. We have a really great client base.”

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