To download a version of the below, click X-ray Fact Sheet.
Also known as a radiograph, an x-ray is a painless test that produces images of the structures inside the body. An X-ray examination involves positioning the area of the body that is going to be examined between an X-ray device and a digital plate. X-rays pass through the body, and are absorbed by the tissues they pass through. Different parts of the body absorb different amounts of X-rays depending on how dense they are. Dense structures such as bone appear white and less dense structures such as the lungs appear black. In some circumstances, a contrast medium (iodine or barium) is used to improve the image detail. X-rays are often accompanied by blood tests and other diagnostic procedures.
A veterinarian may recommend this test to examine an area where your pet is experiencing pain/discomfort, monitor the progress of a condition, or check how well a prescribed treatment is working. Your pet may receive:
- Abdominal x-rays for suspected intestinal obstruction (foreign body), bladder stones, and tumors.
- Chest x-rays for suspected cancer in the lungs or other organs, heart or lung disease, rib fractures, or the presence of air or fluid in the chest cavity.
- Orthopedic x-rays for suspected fractures, joint disease, and bone deformations such as hip/elbow dysplasia.
Preparation: To prepare for your pet’s appointment, read our Client Preparation Guide. This procedure requires your pet to remain relaxed and motionless for a period of time, and may require sedation and/or anesthesia. For further information, refer to our Sedation and Anesthetic Fact Sheet. We also recommend all of our clients become familiar with our Terms and Conditions.
Process: For scheduled procedures, your pet must be admitted for the day.
- During admission, we will ask you to sign consent forms for the procedure and address questions you may have.
- Once admitted, a veterinarian will evaluate your pet, their medical history and lab work, and any radiographs (if applicable).
- An intravenous catheter will be placed in a leg vein for the administration of anesthetic agents. This requires hair clipping at the site. In rare circumstances, a small area on your pet’s chest may also be shaved to place a patch that monitors heart rate.
- Your pet will then be moved to the imaging suite, positioned, and x-rayed. A specially trained registered veterinary technician will be with your pet during the whole process to monitor their health status.
- During the procedure, your pet may be placed in various positions to obtain the best quality images.
- Afterwards, your pet will be brought to our intensive care unit, where a team of veterinarians and registered veterinary technicians will continue to monitor your pet during their recovery.
- Once a veterinarian has determined that your pet is cleared for discharge, we will call to inform you that your pet is ready to go home.
- After evaluating all of the information, the radiologist will then be able to make any recommendations on treatment, medication, and/or further diagnostics, and will provide a report to your veterinarian within 24 hours. Your veterinarian will discuss the x-ray findings with you.
- If additional procedures are required (aspiration or biopsy), you will be contacted prior to the procedure and the benefits/risks and associated costs will be discussed. Any additional results will be forwarded to your veterinarian when they are received.