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Rocket's CT Adventure, Part 3 - CT Time πŸ’₯

CT... here we come!  Rocket's breeder, Joanne, had sent along a sweet stuffed animal that smelled like home, with a beating heart sound that could be switched on. ❀️ We were ready to roll!


We headed to the Portland Jetport and we were on our way! Rocket wasn't sure what to make of the people, the lack of littermates and his familiar home. But he DID like all the extra pats and attention he got along his little way. 😊

By the time we boarded, he was tuckered out.  Me too, puppy, me too. He snoozed the whole way.

The busy Newark airport in NJ is always a bit of a "shock to the system" after the small and personal Portland Jetport. We had a feeding break, a walk to stretch our legs, and many, many floor clean-ups.  Lactulose, one of the medications that helps keep the extra toxins from building up, is also bit of a laxative.  




We slowly made our way to the Uber pickup, and again met many, many people! Rocket did great.  And when our "Pet Friendly Uber" arrived, he sacked out again.  






The hotel I normally stay at for my business trips was wonderfully accommodating. And thankfully my good friend Dr. Jennifer Todd, one of the other instructors, jumped in to help by setting up a crate and puppy sitting. 


Rocket came with us to the Sonopath Education Center while we were instructing in ultrasound lab, waiting for a time we could gather the team for his CT.  Dr. Ken Leal was in charge of running the CT at the Sonopath Imaging Center, then Shari Reffi CVT is in charge of patient care during the CT.

Finally..... it was Go Time!  πŸŽ‰  Rocket was tired from meeting everyone, so the timing was perfect.


Part of my goal in writing about Rocket's CT Adventure is to make the process of a pet getting a CT less scary. I was fortunate to be able to get a "Behind the Scenes" view owners can't normally get, due to potential radiation exposure.

In brief, as described by Shari who is in the pictures below taking meticulous, loving care of Rocket.... CT is a collection of X-rays that are taken from different angles. The CT machine then puts all of those images together for a 3D image of what I can only see in 2D on Ultrasound.

But... the animal has to be totally, completely still for the duration of the image-taking.  Which, of course, isn't something we can just tell them to do.  So, full anesthesia is required. 



Anesthesia is carefully calculated, and full monitoring during the entire procedure.  Once the pet is fully anesthetized, they are carefully and meticulously positioned in the CT machine.






The circular white machine  in the picture is part of the CT machine. Nobody can be in the room when the CT is happening (radiation exposure risk), so positioning is set up and a final check for anesthesia.... then it's Go Time!


There's a window for observing, and the other part of the CT is located outside of the room.  In between images, the pet is checked and re-positioned if necessary. There's a "plain" set of images, then if contrast is being used it is injected via the IV catheter. With careful timing, the contrast images are done.

Then he's done!  That's it!  We monitored his recovery from anesthesia, snuggled and warm, while we took a look at a 3D rendering of every detail of his abdomen.



All of the images are then sent to a Radiologist for interpretation.  CT is designed to be combined with other imaging modalities, such as Ultrasound and X-rays. That allows for the most accurate information for surgical planning, etc.





Once Rocket was recovered from anesthesia, we both enjoyed a lovely relaxing evening visiting with friends and yes, making new friends along the way.

Rocket and my return flight back to Portland Maine was fairly uneventful.... after all, we are experienced travelers at this point. πŸ˜„  I said goodbye to Rocket at the Airport when I met Joanne at Baggage Claim. He was going to stay with his littermates and mom dog while awaiting the results.




Tired but mission accomplished! #Rocketman πŸš€

The CT results came in the next day.... they confirmed the short Shunty Shortcut deep inside Rocket's liver.

On the good side of things, it looks like it can be treated.  πŸŽ‰

On the less-good side of things, it can only be done by a very specialized procedure that requires expensive equipment and specialized training. πŸ˜•

So.... he's got a chance.  But it's a bit of a long shot.  

In the next blog post - how Rocket found his Forever Home and the plan for fixing Shunty Shortcut.

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