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The X-ray is an imaging procedure in which the dog’s body is irradiated with X-rays. This creates X-rays that are helpful in diagnosing diseases of the skeleton, joints, and internal organs. Here you will find the answers to the most important questions about X-ray diagnostics in dogs.

X-ray of the dog in brief

X-Raying Your Dog: Why Dog Diagnostic Imaging May Be Needed 7

  • X-ray is an imaging technique used to diagnose injuries and illnesses;
  • The examination only takes a few minutes and is usually carried out under anesthesia;
  • With contrast media, diseases of the internal organs that are difficult to detect can also be made visible on X-rays;
  • X-rays are harmful, so the examination should be done as infrequently as possible.

X-raying the dog: when is it useful?

Whether it makes sense to have the dog X-rayed depends on the clinical picture and should always be assessed by the veterinarian. For various injuries, symptoms, or suspicion of certain medical conditions, an X-ray can be helpful in making the diagnosis and determining the right treatment option.

Dog X-ray for injuries and broken bones

If your dog has had an accident and there is a suspicion of a broken bone or another skeletal injury, an X-ray is a proven way to detect broken bones or malformations. Many injuries can be detected by palpation, but x-rays provide more accurate information about the extent of the injury. X-rays are also the method of choice for diagnosing acute symptoms, such as a herniated disc.

X-ray dog if HD and ED are suspected

Hip dysplasia (HD) and elbow dysplasia (ED) are some of the most common joint diseases in dogs. The malformations of the joints can cause discomfort and pain when moving. HD and ED can only be diagnosed through an X-ray.

If your dog is suspected of having a joint disease, an X-ray examination will be inevitable. The method is also used as a precautionary measure in dog breeding in order to rule out the inheritance of genetic diseases in breeding.

Dog X-ray if there is an injury to the heart or lungs

X-Raying Your Dog: Why Dog Diagnostic Imaging May Be Needed 8

Not only bones and joints, but also organs can be examined with the help of the X-ray procedure. The recordings provide information about pathological changes in the internal organs, for example, the intestinal tract, the liver, or the kidneys. Both the size and the location of the organs can be checked by the veterinarian. The lungs and heart can also be examined with the help of the X-ray procedure, especially if a disease or injury is suspected.

X-ray pregnant female dog

X-rays are a tried and tested method not only for injuries and illnesses but also for pregnancy. If your bitch is pregnant, the vet will perform an X-ray between the 45th and 50th days of pregnancy. This will help determine exactly how many puppies your bitch is expecting and whether the bitch’s pelvis is large enough to bear the puppies or whether a cesarean section is necessary.

How expensive is an X-ray in a dog?

The price for the X-ray examination depends on the time required and the number of images required. You should expect costs of at least $80 for all x-ray examinations. Additional x-rays are charged at around $30.

In addition, there may be costs for contrast media and anesthetics. The x-ray of a pregnant bitch costs between $50 and $130, depending on the effort.

How does the X-ray work in a dog?

It is important that the dog is sober during the examination. This means that he shouldn’t eat anything beforehand, otherwise side effects from the anesthesia can occur. Most x-rays in dogs are done under what is known as short-term anesthesia. This ensures that the dog is not moving and that the X-ray image is clearly visible.

The anesthesia usually subsides after five to ten minutes, as the X-ray is very quick. Then it is checked whether the heart and circulation are in order before the dog is allowed to get up again. In some treatments, a contrast agent is also used in order to be able to better diagnose pathological changes in the tissue or foreign bodies in the abdomen.

After the x-ray, your dog should rest. He may be a little exhausted from the anesthetic for the rest of the day.

What are the risks of an X-ray examination in a dog?

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X-rays are potentially carcinogenic. As with humans, the dog should therefore not be exposed to radiation more often than absolutely necessary. X-ray examinations should not be carried out for no reason, but only if a disease is suspected.

In order to calm the dog, an anesthetic is often necessary, which is an additional risk, especially for older animals and dogs with previous illnesses. If a contrast agent is used, there is also the risk of intolerance. This usually manifests itself through allergic reactions or symptoms such as vomiting and diarrhea after the treatment.