How to Know if Your Pet Needs X-rays

If you are a pet parent, chances are high that your furry family member will need X-rays or imaging. Veterinarians learn about pets' health through X-rays, and imaging is usually part of routine dental care. X-rays penetrate deeply and effectively reveal internal structures, such as tissues, organs, tumors, bladder stones, and pregnancies. They are vital for diagnosing diseases and conditions.


Understanding X-rays


X-rays are two-dimensional images that provide an internal view of the patient's body. They reveal organs, bones, and other structures. When an X-ray beam passes through the subject, the different structures absorb the electromagnetic waves at varying degrees.


Bone absorbs the beams more, appearing white in the image, while the surrounding air is black in color. The internal organs vary in levels of absorption, helping outline each structure on the X-ray. If a dog swallows a toy, different absorption rates with other organs can make it visible.


Does Your Pet Need an X-ray?


There are various occasions when the veterinarian will recommend X-rays. They include:


  • After trauma, such as a car accident, dog fight, or other injuries

  • When tests reveal anomalous blood work

  • If the pet has stomach problems signified by vomiting, diarrhea, or lack of appetite

  • The pet is coughing or hacking repeatedly

  • Extreme weight gain or weight loss

  • Limping

  • Seizures

  • Extreme lethargy

  • Dental disease

  • Suspected cancer

Senior pets require X-rays and blood work as part of routine care. They help look for signs of arthritis, masses, and changes in the size of organs. Detecting issues early will help provide necessary care to improve their life.


Types of Pet X-rays


Each part of the body requires a different view for effective imaging. The more focused the region, the more detailed the image will be. Veterinarians use various X-rays to look for abnormalities in specific areas of interest. Common X-rays include:


  • Abdominal X-rays

  • Chest X-rays

  • Dental X-rays

  • Joint X-rays

  • Limb X-rays


During Pet X-Rays


Obtaining pet X-rays usually requires two vet team members. When a dog gets into the room, the technicians position the animal for proper viewing. Proper positioning is crucial for accuracy. For chest X-rays, two or three views may be necessary for proper imaging. It will require the dog to lie on different sides. The imaging process takes a few seconds, but it takes longer to position the pet.


X-rays and Sedation


Sedation is usually not necessary when taking most X-rays. However, sedation may be required when assessing ligament tears, fractures, and other painful conditions. Pain control helps keep the pet calm, allowing the technicians to take proper images. Sedation is also essential for aggressive or extremely anxious pets. Anesthesia is necessary for dental X-rays, as the slightest movement results in blurred images.


The cost of X-rays will vary based on the images required. Pet insurance can help cover the cost of imaging. While X-rays are highly effective, some objects, such as swallowed plastic, are not easy to detect. Sometimes, the vet may recommend ultrasounds, magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), or computed tomography (CT) scans.


For more on how to know if your pet needs X-rays, call Community Pet Outreach at (972) 848-8930 to reach our Lewisville, Texas, office.

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