A radiograph or x-ray is a digital image that looks inside the body and reveals information that may not be noticeable from the outside. Radiography is painless, safe, and completely non-invasive, and it uses only very small doses of radiation. Sometimes your pet may need to be sedated to get the perfect x-ray image, especially if a patient is put in an awkward position that requires them to be very still. A sedated and relaxed pet also helps us avoid repeated retakes of images which minimizes radiation exposure to your pet and our team. Often pre-visit medications are all that is required to calm and relax your pet to get the perfect image, but other times we may need to give stronger intravenous sedation.
When health issues do arise, radiographs help us look for any changes in the areas surrounding internal organs and bones by allowing us to determine the size, shape, and position of your pet’s organs. X-rays help us diagnose health issues like kidney, heart, or liver disease, intestinal blockage, cancer, tumours, bladder stones, broken bones, chronic arthritis, certain spinal cord diseases, and a variety of other conditions. Both x-rays and ultrasound images are helpful tools for determining if your pet has any abnormalities. When comparing x-rays to ultrasound imaging, we often say ultrasound images allow us to see the leaves while x-rays allow us to see the entire forest, each type of imaging has its benefits and limitations, and that is often why we need to do both.
With recent advances and affordability of digital radiography technology, most veterinary clinics now offer digital x-rays. With digital radiographic images, we can now, for an additional fee, easily and quickly send these images to a board-certified veterinary radiologist if further interpretation and expertise are needed.
Radiographs are an important tool that can help us make a correct diagnosis for your pet. If you are interested in looking at some interesting radiographs visit DVM Insight Library.