Veterinary radiographs, or X-rays, are a type of diagnostic imaging used to diagnose issues and monitor the health of pets. Here, our East Setauket vets share some useful information about X-rays for dogs including why they are used, how to prepare, and what to expect during your visit.

What are X-rays for dogs and what are they used for?

X-rays are one of the most widely used veterinary diagnostic tools. They can help vets get a view of your pet's bones, tissues, and internal organs so they can diagnose issues such as broken bones, bladder stones, swallowed foreign objects, and more.

While X-rays are helpful in many medical situations, your vet may request an MRI to produce a more detailed image to assist with your pet's diagnosis. MRIs are better for evaluating soft tissues such as tendon and ligament injuries, brain tumors or spinal cord injuries.

X-rays can do more than provide images of broken bones. X-rays of a pregnant dog can be used to provide valuable information about their puppies, including how many your dog is expecting and if any potential issues are developing.

Will I need to do anything to prepare my dog for an X-ray?

X-rays are most often used after accidents or sudden injuries. Because of this, you will not need to prepare your dog in any way. Once your vet has determined that an X-ray is the best option for diagnosing your pet, they will share information about the process as well as what they will be looking for on the X-ray image.

Is sedation necessary for my dog's X-ray?

Each dog reacts differently to the X-ray procedure, with some dogs becoming frightened. If this is the case for your dog, then your vet may recommend having your pup sedated. Sedation may also be used in cases where your dog is experiencing a great deal of pain or if they are moving around too much.

Sedation is also a good idea to help keep your pup still for clear images and in situations that require an X-ray of their head.

Is it safe for my dog to have an X-ray?

The use of X-rays as a diagnostic tool is irreplaceable. While it does require radiation, the levels are low enough that it is safe for pets.

If you have more questions about your dog's safety with X-rays, your veterinarian can answer them. This will provide you with an understanding of the risks versus the benefits in your dog's particular case. Once you have this information you can decide whether you want your dog to have an X-ray. 

How long do X-rays take for dogs?

X-rays are quicker than some other diagnostic tests, such as MRIs. This is because they only produce a single flat image and are usually used to look at very specific areas.

While the X-ray itself may only take about 10 minutes, the entire X-ray session can take up to thirty minutes on average.

The benefit of this efficient process is that we will be able to provide a diagnosis quickly, allowing your dog to begin treatment as soon as possible.

What is the cost of X-rays for dogs?

The cost will depend on several different factors including the qualifications of the vet, the location, and if sedation is used. If you require assistance with paying your bill, we are proud to offer financing options through CareCredit and Scratchpay.

Note: The advice provided in this post is intended for informational purposes and does not constitute medical advice regarding pets. For an accurate diagnosis of your pet's condition, please make an appointment with your vet.

If your dog has sustained an injury or is displaying signs of illness, please contact our East Setauket vets to schedule an examination.