Veterinarians have unique needs, and I don’t just mean an outdoor, fenced-in bathroom for patients. Vets care deeply for animals, and imaging equipment can be as critical to their work as it is to the work of doctors serving human patients. Unlike doctors for humans, however, vets can’t count on insurance or government reimbursement. They must think more economically about their equipment, especially “big metal” systems like MRI and CT. That's why we've compiled four CT scanners we recommend every vet consider as they shop in the CT market.
Most pet owners have a cap on what they can practically pay for diagnostic imaging, so “cost effective” must be the name of the game when choosing imaging equipment. This is NOT the same as buying the cheapest thing you can find. When it comes to imaging equipment, it can be easy to find a "smoking deal" on a system that will later cost a fortune in upkeep. Because of this, it's best to avoid buying a system with an old or high-use tube, outdated hardware, a large footprint, or expensive replacement parts/tubes. Keep in mind that no matter what CT is purchased, you’ll still have significant cost in installation to budget for.
The Top Four CT Scanners for Vets
GE BrightSpeed Select
The BrightSpeed Select was made from 2005 to 2012. It has a cheaper tube (Solarix 3.5 MHU) and a lower-power generator that is sufficient for studies on most animals smaller than bovine or equine species. This makes tube replacement quite manageable when the time comes.
The BrightSpeed Select can come in a 4, 8, or 16-slice variant. It's air-cooled (no chiller needed) and has one of the smaller footprints in the industry, which both help keep construction and installation costs down.
The Ceretom is a small, portable, 8-slice scanner. Aside from the flexibility of having a CT you can move around, the biggest benefit is that there's no construction involved in installing it. Drawbacks? The bore diameter is only 12 inches, so it won’t be sufficient for larger animals, even certain studies on larger dog breeds. Also, working with the OEM (a division of Samsung) is challenging and, given the niche nature of this scanner, there aren’t a lot of third-party parts available.
GE LightSpeed 16
The LightSpeed 16 has become about as bread-and-butter of a system as there is. You could even consider a 4 or 8-slice, but the relatively small amount that would save isn't worth foregoing the faster technology. The Lightspeed 16 is reliable, easy to repair, has lots of parts and engineer available, is air-cooled, and has a small footprint.
We really only offer one note of caution with this model: buy one with the MX200 tube, not the MX240, and an Xtream console, not the older Octane. These newer components help to keep reliability up and cost down.
GE LightSpeed VCT 64
We almost hesitate to put the LightSpeed VCT 64 on the list, but if a veterinary practice is looking for more "premium" technology, this is the 64-slice CT to go with. It is more expensive to purchase and service than GE 16-slice units, but it's also cheaper to service than 64-slice units from other OEMs. A 64-slice CT is usually more of a want than a need for vets. Unless you’re cranking though 20+ patients a day or Jon Snow is bringing you his dire wolf, a 16-slice CT should be sufficient.
There are other options beyond these that can serve a vet and their patients well, but we believe these models are a good place to start for finding a CT that balances clinical needs with budgetary realities. An added bonus- most of these are readily available on the secondary market for added affordability.
If you'd like to know more about these, or any other CT models. We're ready to help. Tell us about your project by clicking on the banner and we'll be happy to point you in the right direction.