From an injury to an undiagnosed illness, there are many different reasons why a dog might need an x-ray. And, as a pet owner, the situation can be difficult and scary to navigate. This is especially true when the total cost of treatment is completely unknown. Today, we’re going to help settle this confusion.
In this article, we’re talking about dog x-rays and how much they generally cost. We’ll be discussing different scenarios when your beloved pooch might need medical imaging and why your vet may recommend one. Then we’ll cover the general x-ray procedure and different situations that could impact the cost.
What is a Dog X-Ray?
Most pet parents only think of an x-ray as a test for diagnosing fractures and broken bones. But, because these images penetrate so deep within the body, they can also help with locating tumors, revealing blockages and confirming pregnancy. X-rays are the go-to test for dogs suspected of swallowing a foreign object.
X-rays are also quite useful for diagnosing medical conditions like cancer or arthritis because they allow veterinary professionals to see inside dogs without having to cut them open first. They’re also incredibly affordable to use, especially when compared to CT or MRI machines.
When Do Dogs Need an X-Ray?
As mentioned above, x-rays are extremely helpful for vets because they allow them to see what’s going on inside your dog. These tests paint a more detailed picture of your dog’s overall health. And, like we talked about, there are a wide range of different reasons why your vet may recommend an x-ray for your dog. The number of x-rays taken will also depend on the exact circumstances that warranted the test in the first place.
Digestive issues (unexplained vomiting, diarrhea, or constipation)
Cancer stage determination
Tooth/gum issues and pain
How Much Does a Dog X-Ray Cost?
The cost of an x-ray for a dog varies significantly, depending on multiple different factors.
Most pet owners pay somewhere between $75-$500 for their dog’s x-ray test, with the location and vet contributing to this number. It’s important to remember that there will be many variables at play when calculating your dog’s total bill (especially if your pup needs additional treatment).
Some of the most important elements to consider when calculating the cost of an x-ray for your dog are:
Their Breed: Large breeds tend to require more extensive procedures and additional imaging due to their size. This obviously increases the price of your dog’s overall vet visit.
The Location of Their Injury: The injury location will directly influence the difficulty of imaging your dog. For example, a paw might require only one image and be significantly easier to take an x-ray of. The soft organs under the ribcage might be more difficult to see.
Sedation: Some dogs are nervous around the vet. Others might be receiving an x-ray under extreme pain and stress. Dogs in these situations might require sedation during x-ray imaging which will increase the price significantly.
Geographic Location: You may find that you pay more or less for vet care depending on where you live. In rural areas, for example, there might not be many veterinary options available. For this reason, prices tend to be higher than vets in more populated areas.
What to Expect During a Dog’s X-Ray Procedure
Taking your dog in for x-ray imaging doesn’t require much preparation by you. Instead, your vet will help you make the best decisions for your pet’s diagnostic imaging, including whether they will need to be sedated or not. Dogs who can remain still and calm during imaging typically won’t require sedation. On the other hand, calming medication is often recommended for pups who can’t stop squirming or dogs that require muscle relaxation for the x-ray images.
Like human x-rays, imaging on pets is incredibly similar to taking a photograph. It requires your dog to remain still while your vet manipulates them into the best position for the test.
Are X-Rays Safe for Dogs?
Because x-ray tests utilize radiation, they do carry an inherent risk. This is why they should only be administered for good reason and per a vet’s recommendation. X-rays are one of the only ways to see the inside of a dog without performing exploratory surgery or running a scope through their body. And, there are many cases when they’re simply required. An x-ray can help your vet make a decision when moving forward with your dog’s treatment while also helping them personalize your dog’s care.
The truth of the matter is that exposure to radiation during an x-ray is short and limited. It’s no more than a human would be exposed to during an x-ray themselves. The benefits of occasional exposure to radiation during illness or injury typically outweigh the risks of just allowing the problem to resolve on its own.
Tips for Saving Money on X-Rays for Your Dog
Regardless of the reason that your dog needs an x-ray (and especially if it’s an ongoing issue/illness), this diagnostic test can be quite costly. As we’ve seen above, they’re one of the best tests for getting answers about your pup and moving forward with treatment. In many cases, they’re non-negotiable for getting your dog the right treatment and keeping them comfortable.
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