Why are pet xrays sometimes required?

If your pet has suffered an injury to a bone or has swallowed a toy or other foreign body, an x-ray can help diagnose the issue. X-rays are commonly used by doctors and vets to gain a better idea of what is happening inside the body, such as with the lungs or bones.

X-rays work by a machine emitting electromagnetic radiation through the body. The machine creates an image of internal structures within the body which the vet can then analyse. As x-ray exposure is extremely short, they do not pose significant harm to you or your pet if carried out infrequently.

An x-ray may be carried out instead of or in addition to an ultrasound, depending on the possible issue with your pet. For example, x-rays are often used for looking at the lungs and hard structures such as the bones. An ultrasound may be more appropriate if the issue mainly concerns soft tissue.

X-rays can be used for diagnosing a range of issues in your pet, such as:

  • cancer

  • fractures / dislocations

  • foreign bodies

  • chest / lung issues

  • bladder issues

  • spinal problems

Depending on the type of issue, your pet may require sedation or anaesthetic before the x-ray is carried out, particularly if your pet is very young or nervous.

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Cat lying on its back for an ultrasound while looking directly at camera

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