What happens when your favorite dog is injured or sick and your veterinarian needs to have a “closer look”? It’s already quite difficult to deal with a sick pup, but it can be extremely difficult to see the vet bill afterward.
Paying any bill is no walk in the park for us, but think, taking our pups to the vet is a way to ease our stressing minds. Knowing that your furbaby is on the way to recovery, in great hands is better than any price tag.
So your vet has suggested x-rays for your dog, and you are wondering what to expect and how much they will cost. X-rays are an important diagnostic tool for today’s veterinarian.
Vets can quickly diagnose many health conditions using the x-ray images which they can’t see normally by just looking at an animal. As radiographic imaging is a common dog procedure in veterinary practices today, it is important to understand the steps involved.
Once your vet suggests a dog x-ray, the process itself will be as follows:
- A special receptor such as a plastic cassette (containing the film or sensor) will be placed beneath the desired area to “catch” any x-rays that pass through it.
- The x-ray apparatus is usually on a mechanical arm and will be positioned over the problem area.
- It is important that your dog stays at rest during the x-ray (in some instances, your dog will be sedated).
- Once ready, the technician positions the x-ray machine so that the x-ray beam targets only the area of interest
- The procedure usually takes not more than 10 minutes.
- After the x-rays have been taken, the film will be then processed and the resulting images will be passed on to your vet.
- Digital and computer radiography images are generally ready for viewing instantly.
Dog x-rays vs. human x-rays
From the simply technological standpoint, X-rays for humans and dogs are almost similar. Though, it should be noted that there are a few differences between how technology is implemented. There are also a few variances between how the results stemming from the tech are deciphered.
What Are X-rays Used For?
You probably think of x-rays being used to identify broken bones following injury, and other orthopaedic issues (e.g., hip dysplasia). They can also be used to diagnose a whole host of other issues.
They can paint a clear picture of organs, cancers, tumours or other abnormal growths, bladder stones etc. Stomach X-ray procedure provides the outlines of a number of internal organs including the liver, stomach, intestines, kidneys and bladder.
They are particularly effective at identifying intestinal blockages due to the inedible items dogs swallow and determine the location of the ingested object.
They can even reveal pregnancies! X-ray can confirm the number of puppies your pooch is carrying. But, you have to wait until the 45th day of pregnancy before you have any hope of visualizing puppies.
The puppies’ skeleton doesn’t ossify until after 45 days of gestation.
Are Dog X-Rays Safe?
X-rays obviously generate radiation, which is something that concerns people, and for good reason. The key to x-ray safety is limiting exposure. Single x-ray or a carefully controlled series of repeated x-rays are safe for your dog and even used sometimes to scan pregnant bitches.
When used only needed (in moderation), x-rays are not a health risk for your dog. Ultrasound is used as an excellent substitute for diagnostic Dog X-rays.
It provides images of internal organs and bones with the direction of high-frequency sound waves and the resulting echo waves. X-rays cost less than Ultrasound and the results of ultrasound imaging are accurate.
Will My Dog Need Sedation Or Anesthesia?
Most dogs do not need sedation or anaesthesia for x-rays. The technician will simply put the dog on its side or its back as pictures for.
However, if the dog particularly wriggles a lot, fractious, or is in too much pain to hold still, or the x-ray has to be taken in an odd position to get a better image, the dog may require sedation.
For instance, the vet may decide to use sedation in the case of a torn cruciate ligament and so the muscles are relaxed, making diagnosis easier. X-rays of the skull, spine and oral cavity are also problematic to do, and sedation is often necessary.
Cost Of Diagnostic Imaging Procedures
Most owners will be prepared to plop down a stack of cash anytime their vet mentions the word “x-ray”. Dog x-rays are by far the most commonly used form of diagnostic imaging in the vet industry as they are cost-effective (comparatively speaking).
The cost of alternative medical imaging systems (Ultrasound, MRI and CT scans) fluctuates based on the type of animal hospital conducting it, the complexity of the study and equipment used. Ultrasounds, for example, have a price range of $250-$500.
CT scans costs roughly $500-$1,200 and MRIs, on the other hand, cost as much as $1,100 -$2,500 per session. Meanwhile, one x-ray may cost anywhere between $50 to $150; additional x-rays may range from $20 to $75.
The cost of x-rays increases depending on several factors:
- the need for sedation or anaesthesia,
- the number of views needed,
- the type of x-rays (regular versus the digital),
- your location,
- The type of facility. Usually, x-rays are less expensive at the vet’s office. In an emergency veterinary hospital, you may be charged up to double the price
The site of the x-ray in the dogs will change the price too. For instance, German shepherds have a Genetic Predisposition for hip problems. An X-ray of the hip can cost up to $ 150. Sometimes more than one view is needed which adds to the cost.
As the pet owner, you should delve into and determine the more affordable options in your area. Many vet clinics offer discounts for students, military personnel and seniors (some even offer discounts for senior dogs).
Always have a regular vet and if you have been familiar with him for a good amount of time now, you may just haggle for a cheaper rate. Those who have pet insurance, check with your insurance provider to make sure you know what is included.