Turbinate destruction is an important diagnostic criterion in canine and feline nasal computed tomography (CT). However decreased turbinate visibility may also be caused by technical CT settings and nasal fluid. The purpose of this experimental, crossover study was to determine whether fluid reduces conspicuity of canine and feline nasal turbinates in CT and if so, whether CT settings can maximize conspicuity. Three canine and three feline cadaver heads were used. Nasal slabs were CT-scanned before and after submerging them in a water bath; using sequential, helical, and ultrahigh resolution modes; with images in low, medium, and high frequency image reconstruction kernels; and with application of additional posterior fossa optimization and high contrast enhancing filters. Visible turbinate length was measured by a single observer using manual tracing. Nasal density heterogeneity was measured using the standard deviation (SD) of mean nasal density from a region of interest in each nasal cavity. Linear mixed-effect models using the R package 'nlme', multivariable models and standard post hoc Tukey pair-wise comparisons were performed to investigate the effect of several variables (nasal content, scanning mode, image reconstruction kernel, application of post reconstruction filters) on measured visible total turbinate length and SD of mean nasal density. All canine and feline water-filled nasal slabs showed significantly decreased visibility of nasal turbinates (P < 0.001). High frequency kernels provided the best turbinate visibility and highest SD of aerated nasal slabs, whereas medium frequency kernels were optimal for water-filled nasal slabs. Scanning mode and filter application had no effect on turbinate visibility.