PET owners in South Lakeland will benefit after a veterinary surgery became the first in Cumbria and Lancashire to provide CT scans for injured and poorly animals.

Kentdale Veterinary Orthopaedics now has a state-of-the-art CT scanner, which can be used to produce 3D images to look at bone and soft tissues.

Installed by GE Medical, the machine uses x-rays to create thin slices through the body, which the computer can then restack and reslice.

The nearest CT scanners are in Liverpool, Edinburgh, Glasgow, or Blyth on the east coast.

Surgeon Simon Roch explained: “We principally use the scanner for the investigation of joint diseases, where it enables us to diagnose many conditions that cannot be seen on conventional x-rays and spinal conditions.

“These include slipped discs where immediate advanced imaging is often essential to plan the surgery that is necessary to decompress the spinal cord so that the dogs may regain the ability to walk.

“When vets request, we will also will scan dogs for other reasons such as the investigation of sinus problems, cancers and the identification of foreign bodies. We have already found an intact kebab skewer in a dog’s stomach and a 10cm fragment of stick stuck in a dog’s throat.”

To investigate chronic spinal problems and some complex joint problems, the surgery can also use a mobile MRI scanner that visits the site once or twice monthly.

Mr Roch said: “Having access to these machines allows us to diagnose conditions more quickly and in a less invasive manner, then proceed with potentially life saving treatment more accurately.

“This results in greater success, fewer complications and faster recovery. Many scans can be performed on the same day as initial consultation.”