Objective— To compare the diagnostic yield of conventional radiographs and computed tomography (CT) images of the skulls of dogs and cats with maxillofacial trauma (MFT).

Study Design— Prospective study.

Animals— Dogs (n=9) and 15 cats with MFT.

Methods— CT-scans and skull radiographs (4 standard projections) for each animal were evaluated using a semi-quantitative scoring system for the ability to identify 26 predefined, clinically relevant anatomic features (Part 1), and 27 predetermined potential traumatic injuries (Part 2). For Part 1, mean scores for each anatomic feature were recorded for every view and imaging modality. For Part 2, studies were evaluated for the frequency of cases where each predetermined traumatic injury was identified.

Results— Part 1: On radiographs it was easy to identify 17 of 26 anatomic features whereas 6 features were very difficult or impossible to identify on any view. All structures were considered easy or very easy to identify on CT. Scores for CT were lower than radiographs for evaluating dental occlusion and the integrity of the mandibular body. Part 2: CT scans demonstrated 1.6 times more maxillofacial injuries for dogs and 2.0 times more for cats than conventional radiographs. The average number of MFT injuries per animal by radiographs and CT-scan was 4.8 and 7.6 in dogs, and 3.8 and 7.7 in cats, respectively.

Conclusion— CT is superior to conventional skull radiography for identification of anatomic structures and traumatic injuries in dogs and cats. Skull radiography is useful for visualizing the mandibular body and dental occlusion.

Clinical Relevance— CT allows for accurate assessment, diagnosis and treatment planning of MFT in dogs and cats.