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What is a Pet X-ray?

X-Ray (or radiography) is a diagnostic procedure which allows us to see inside your pet’s body to assess their bones and organs for any issues or diseases. X-ray is a commonly used imaging technique which helps provide vets with more information to help us learn about what is going on inside a dog or cat.

X-rays work by passing a small amount of radiation through different parts of the animal’s body. Soft tissue, such as organs and skin, can’t absorb the radiation, where as dense tissue, like bone, absorbs the rays and as a result, this produces an image.

Fat, body tissues, bone and air all absorb different amounts of X-rays, which allows us to visualise what is going on inside. In some cases, we may need to look inside the animal’s body in 3D. In this case, we would use a CT scan, which produces a 3D X-ray, or, if we need to look inside an organ in more detail we may choose to use an ultrasound.

When are Pet X-rays used?

X-rays are used in the following example situations on a dog or cat:

  • Orthopaedic problems, such as lameness, fractures and deformities
  • Assessing the abdomen, such as bloated or painful abdomen, vomiting or diarrhoea
  • Viewing changes in your pet such as tumours, cysts or stones
  • Checking on conditions which affect the heart, lungs, liver and other organs
  • Diagnosing dental problems, such as abscesses and fractures

How do we take a Pet X-ray?

It is important for your pet to be still when we perform radiography, therefore we usually sedate dogs and cats, or we will administer a general anaesthetic. Once your pet is asleep, we position them and take the X-ray image. We use specialist digital systems which quickly process the image and allow us to rotate, zoom and correct them. During this process, we sometimes need to take multiple images, in multiple positions, to provide the most accurate and detailed information on the potential issue. These images are then stored on your pet’s patient record.

Once we are happy we have all of the X-ray images required, your pet is woken up and left to recover. Our expert team will then speak with you to discuss the next steps.

How much does a Pet X-ray examination cost?

The price of a pet X-ray examination includes the anaesthetic or sedation. Where we are required to perform other investigations at the same time, such as an ultrasound or blood test, we have created a range of well-priced packages to try and minimise the cost of getting a diagnosis for your pet. See our prices page for more information.


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