X-Rays for Pets

Whether your pet has a suspected broken bone or your vet just wants to get a good look at something internal, X-rays are a common diagnostic tool used for dogs and cats. 

But before your pet’s appointment, you may be wondering just what happens during your pet’s X-ray, what your vet is looking for, and how much it’s going to cost you. Read on for all the information you need about your pet’s X-ray.

How Do X-Rays Work?

An X-ray—also called a radiograph—is a form of electromagnetic energy that’s carried in waves by photons. The X-ray beam produces energy that’s absorbed by mineralized tissues or hard material’s in your pet’s body, including bones and teeth. Soft tissues such as kidneys and the liver absorb some X-rays, and air absorbs none of them.

Depending on what your veterinarian is looking for in the X-rays, your pet may be laid in one stationary position for all the images, or they may be repositioned to capture multiple angles. 

X-rays typically take about 10 minutes. The digital images are instantly ready for your vet to review.

What Can X-Rays Help Diagnose?

Most often used to examine your pet’s bones, internal organs, and tissues to diagnose problems such as bone fractures, foreign objects your pet may have swallowed, and bladder stones. They also can help your vet detect pregnancy, enlarged organs, and some tumors.

X-rays also can capture a silhouette of your pet’s heart, large blood vessels, fluid in the lungs, air trapped in the intestines, and other abdominal organs.

Some common conditions that X-rays can be used to detect or monitor include:

  • Breaks and fractures
  • Bladder stones
  • Some tumors
  • Intestinal blockages
  • Pregnancy
  • Heart conditions, especially if fluid is detected around the heart and lungs
  • Lung abnormalities
  • Broken or malformed teeth

Because X-rays cannot accurately show all the necessary structures in your pet’s body, additional diagnostic testing—such as CT scans, MRIs, or ultrasounds—may be ordered.

How Can I Prepare My Pet for an X-Ray?

In many cases, your veterinarian will order and complete an X-ray on the same day, often without any warning.

Because X-rays are noninvasive procedures and often do not require your pet to be sedated, there is no need for any preparation beforehand.

However, if your pet is in a lot of pain, cannot remain calm, or will not lay in one position while the X-ray is completed, they may need to be sedated. This may require a little extra time for your pet to recover, but does not require preparation.

Are X-Rays Safe for Pets?

Typically, X-rays are very safe for pets. They do, however, require radiation and, if your pet has too many, it can be dangerous.

Your vet will use X-rays as a diagnostic tool as sparingly as possible to prevent any prolonged radiation exposure for your pet.

How Much Do X-Rays for Pets Cost?

The cost of your pet’s X-ray depends on a variety of factors. These can include the size of your pet, the area being X-rayed, whether your pet had to be sedated, and more.

Your veterinarian can provide an estimated cost to you prior to the procedure.

In-House X-Rays for Dogs and Cats in Frederick, MD

Your pet deserves the best care possible. At Old Farm Veterinary Hospital, that means keeping as many procedures and tests in-house as possible, so you don’t have to take your pet all over town. Our team of skilled veterinary technicians completes your pet’s X-ray in our office, giving you the results as quickly as possible. Schedule your appointment today!